Textile Fragment with Hunting Scene

Object Name: Fragment

Date: 8th century

Geography: Attributed to Egypt or Syria

Medium: Silk; samite

Dimensions: Textile: H. 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm)
W. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm)
Mount: H. 13 3/4 in. (34.9 cm)
W. 10 1/4 in. (26 cm)

Classification: Textiles-Woven

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1951

Accession Number: 51.57


This silk fragment depicts a mounted hunter aiming at a leaping panther in an oval roundel with scrolling vegetation. It is closely related to early Byzantine examples woven in Egypt. The motif of hunters on horseback with bows and arrows originates in Sasanian Iran but made its way into Byzantine heraldry, where it was adapted and classicized. The inclusion of an Arabic inscription (the bismillah) places it securely in the early Islamic period. This is a testament to the longevity of the motif and the synthesis of pre-Islamic designs in the early Islamic period.