Roundel with Amazons and a Cross

Date: 7th–9th century (?)

Geography: Made in Egypt or Syria (?)

Culture: Byzantine

Medium: Weft-faced compound twill (samit) in green, beige, and brownish silk

Dimensions: Overall: 8 3/16 x 8 1/4in. (20.8 x 20.9cm)

Classification: Textiles-Woven

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Hayford Peirce, 1987

Accession Number: 1987.442.5


This silk fragment features two bare-breasted Amazons, or female warriors, who aim arrows at the rampant lions beneath their horses’ hooves. It is possible to trace the long popularity of this ancient iconography thanks to the large surviving numbers of similar silks in various colors and quality of weave. This example features a tiny cross at the top and bottom of the circular frame filled with heart shapes and vegetal patterns.