Tapestry fragment

Early Byzantine, Egyptian
Early Byzantine
5th century A.D.

Object Place: Egypt


23 x 18 cm (9 1/16 x 7 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wool, tapestry weave

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Textiles and Fashion Arts



A fragmentary head of a male in 3/4 view profile view perhaps surrounded by a green halo and therefore a Christian holy person (saint or apostle?). He has curly brown hair and beard and large blue eyes that gaze out. There is an air of contemplation and focus typical of the depiction of early Byzantine holy figures. He is looking toward his left, so perhaps he was part of a series of standing saints flanking a Christ figure. Images of holy persons on surviving textiles are rare for this period. Perhaps, the textile was part of a large curtain placed in a Church or used in a house for veneration, a woven textile.

Polychrome wool yarns on undyed wool warps, except for the restored areas where warps are red.


1976, sold by Galerie Uraeus (Galerie d'Art et d'Archéologie Egypte Grèce Rome), Paris, to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 10, 1976)

Credit Line

Charles Potter Kling Fund