Textile Fragment with Rabbits

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Textile fragment with rabbits 11th century, Egypt Cotton Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 22645

Textile fragment with rabbits

Although in fragmentary condition, this textile is delicately designed. Several registers of finely woven dyed cotton are superposed to form various patterns. The central band consists of tiny rabbits running within a row of red roundels. The miniscule creatures are playful, with their ears perked and feet poised to jump. These types of patterned textiles emerged from the tradition of decorating plain fabric with densely woven or embroidered decorative polychrome bands. In this manner, the more durable and valuable bands of ornament could be reused when the plain linen or cotton ground cloth wore out. This type of textile ornamented with animal figures flourished during the Fatimid period in Egypt.

Bibliography: Hoskins 2002; Baker 1995, 62; Contadini 1998, 67, 69–70, and pls. 23 and 29; Day 1937; and Baer 1998, 35.

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