Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Tapestry Square with the Head of Spring, 4th–5th century; Early Byzantine
    Egyptian
    Polychrome wool, linen; 9 1/4 x 9 7/8 in. (23.5 x 25.1 cm)
    Gift of George H. Baker, 1890 (90.5.848)

    This small tapestry panel comes from Egypt. It was originally used as an appliqué on a larger textile, probably as part of a set. Egypt had a major weaving (especially linen) industry throughout the ancient and medieval period, which brought the country a great deal of its trade and wealth. Unlike the textiles of other cultures, many of these pieces have been preserved by Egypt's hot, dry climate, which prevents rotting.

    Personified seasons in Byzantine art symbolize prosperity and continued good fortune. As here, they are usually shown holding their attributes in folds of cloth, or even in a pleat of their clothing. In this case, the woman holds roses and pink blossoms rather than fruit or grain, helping to distinguish her as Spring.

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  • Tapestry Square with the Head of Spring, 4th–5th century; Early Byzantine
    Egyptian
    Polychrome wool, linen; 9 1/4 x 9 7/8 in. (23.5 x 25.1 cm)
    Gift of George H. Baker, 1890 (90.5.848)

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