Skip Navigation

Textile Fragment with Figural and Floral Motifs and Inscriptions

Arts of the Islamic World

Coptic and Arabic influences meld in this early Islamic textile fragment to create a fascinating hybrid of Coptic-style human and animal figures in the main band of decoration, and a curious Arabic Kufic inscription that has been transformed into an illegible series of decorative geometric motifs along the upper register. Early Egyptian Islamic textiles such as this one were probably still woven by Coptic weavers, as suggested by the coarse, dark wool foundation and by the way the tapestry-woven Coptic-style decoration in wool and linen is paired with an illegible Kufic script band.
MEDIUM Wool, linen
DATES 7th-8th century
PERIOD Umayyad period
DIMENSIONS 8 7/8 x 26 7/8 in. (22.5 x 68.3 cm) Measurements from accession cards: 7 x 14 1/2 in. (17.8 x 36.8 cm) Frame: 1 5/8 x 15 9/16 x 31 5/8 in. (4.1 x 39.6 x 80.3 cm)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed in Arabic or pseudo-Arabic (Kufic script), letters partially illegible. In Deborah Thompson, "A Fatimid Textile of Coptic Tradition with Arabic Inscription," 146, note 5: "From a letter of Dr. [Richard] Ettinghausen to the writer of 23 Nov. 1964, '...it is basically a combination of the letters 'kaf-mim' and, to its side, their mirror image, 'mim-kaf.' The combination of kaf-mim does not seem to make any sense, nor is it possible to establish a meaning by assuming that certain letters have fallen out. However, the combination 'mim-kaf' could be derived from '(al-) mu(l)k (illah), more specifically, the Arabic word 'mulk,' with the center 'lam' omitted. The weaver must have copied this from a correctly written version, but he rendered it then in mirror writing and leaving out the center letter. A further development...the combination 'kaf-mim' which, though written in the ordinary fashion, is nevertheless a reflection of an incorrect version. In addition, there are additional letters which float around in the inscription or above it, without, however, affording any clue as to what they ordinarily might have been combined with or stood for."
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 57.120.3
CREDIT LINE Anonymous gift
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.

Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact reproductions@brooklynmuseum.org (charges apply).

For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch.

For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright.

If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact copyright@brooklynmuseum.org.
CAPTION Textile Fragment with Figural and Floral Motifs and Inscriptions, 7th-8th century. Wool, linen, 8 7/8 x 26 7/8 in. (22.5 x 68.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Anonymous gift, 57.120.3. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE overall, 57.120.3_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RECORD COMPLETENESS Good (63%)
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.
Textile Fragment with Figural and Floral Motifs and Inscriptions