Silk fragment

Silk fragment

Silk fragment
Italy
1370–1430
Museum no. 814-1899

During the late 13th and early 14th century, luxury silks with lively scenes made in the vast Mongolian empire were in high demand among Europe's elite. To compete with these expensive silks, European textile industries had to adjust, and incorporated eastern motifs into their products to better appeal to the European luxury market. This Italian silk fragment shows a dramatic scene typical of the period, in which a large bird attacks a deer. It is combined with a scroll bearing pseudo-Kufic inscriptions. The eastern motifs and the exotic inscription create an illusion that this was an example of the more expensive imported silks, instead of Italian production.