Textile with Inscription Band and Floral Designs

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Textile with inscription band and floral designs 9th–10th centuries, Egypt Wool tapestry Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 91604

Textile with inscription band and floral designs

The line of text written in deep ochre on a red ground repeats the Arabic word al-mulk, meaning power or kingdom. It is executed in tapestry, one of the more common techniques for producing tiraz textiles in medieval Egypt. The decorative program of this textile fragment is further enhanced with a dark blue and white repeating pattern of stylized tulips or lotus blossoms. The thickness of the tapestry weave makes the fabric more durable. For this reason, many tiraz textiles consist of tapestry-woven inscriptions stitched onto a lighter, plain cloth. Once the ground cloth wore out, the tapestry inscription could be cut out and sewn onto a new cloth, thus extending its life.

Bibliography: Blair 1998, 164–181; and Ettinghausen 1974.

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