Iran, Iraq, or Egypt
Wool; tapestry weave; L. 12 in. (30.5 cm), W. 18 3/4 in. (47.6 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1950 (50.83)
This fragment of tapestry-woven cloth demonstrates the dependence of early Islamic art on traditions that predate the advent of Islam in the Middle East. Here, the influence comes from Sasanian art in Iran. The allover repeat pattern of staggered rows of rosettes is represented, for example, on the rock reliefs of the Sasanian monument at Taq-i Bustan, dating from the late sixth or early seventh century. On the basis of inscriptions on two closely related textiles, the Museum's piece can be dated to the reign of the Umayyad caliph Marwan II (r. 74449). It is possible that the green ground area with the rows of rosettes was part of a central field zone and that the red ground strip, which preserves both edges, was the main border. In that case, the textile may have been part of a floor covering.