Roundel, fragment, 7th century
Byzantine; Egypt (?)
Polychrome wool and undyed linen, tapestry weave; L. 10 1/4 in. (26.1 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles K. Wilkinson, 1963 (63.178.2)
A popular theme of roundels for tunics was the Old Testament story of Joseph. Inspired by silk weavings, the nine events shown here are from Genesis 37:9–36. At the center of this example, Joseph is seen dreaming that the sun, moon, and stars bow down to him (Genesis 37.9). Two horizontally configured faces representing the sun and the moon are placed together with five stars to the left of the sleeping Joseph. The remnants of the imagery represent other episodes from Joseph's childhood: Joseph's Departure for Schechem; Joseph's Arrival to His Brothers; Joseph Removed from the Well; Joseph's Coat Stained with Blood; Joseph Sold to the Ishmaelite Traders; Reuben's Lamentation; Joseph Brought to Egypt; and Joseph Sold to Potiphar. These scenes are read counterclockwise, beginning at "11 o'clock."