Tapestry: The Defeat of Astyages (from the series, The Life of Cyrus)

about 1771–75
Designed by Maximilien de Haese, Woven by Jac. van der Borght (Flemish)

Object Place: Brussels, Flanders


408 x 607 cm (160 5/8 x 239 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tapestry weave (wool warp; wool and silk wefts)

Not On View


Textiles and Fashion Arts



The weaving depicts the third in series of five tapestries illustrating the story of Cyrus, founder of the Persian empire, when he defeated Astyages, King of the Median empire. The victorious young Cyrus stands in the center of the tapestry, pointing with his left hand to a group of lamenting women beneath a fringed canopy. Harpagus stands behind him and they both look at Astyages, who stands on the left, defeated and in chains. Top center has arms of Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary. No borders or guard bands.


There are two marks, one of them is the Brussel's weavers mark , the other one is: IAC : VD: BORGHT


The set of five tapestries were said to be in collection of Austrian royal family until 1914 when they were sold to Dr. G.H.L. Fitzwilliam, formerly medical adviser to the Austrian court. Said to have hung in Madingley Hall, near Cambridge, England, until sale at Christies in 1976. Purchased with the Charles Potter Kling Fund, April 1976.

Credit Line

Charles Potter Kling Fund