Tapestry-woven panel showing a dolphin, 4th or 5th century. Museum no. 1302-1888

Tapestry-woven panel showing a dolphin, 4th or 5th century. Museum no. 1302-1888

Tapestry-woven panel showing a dolphin
Egypt
4th or 5th century
Wool and undyed linen
Museum no. 1302-1888

These small naturalistic woven motifs were produced in the 4th to 6th centuries by early Egyptian Christians called Copts. The textiles are referred to as Coptic textiles. The motifs used include a quail, a basket of fruit and a dolphin. Another example includes flowers, and has birds and heads of women in the centre. These pieces were used as decoration on tunics, covers or hangings. The central brown square in which the basket of fruit is placed, and the border of fruit round the edge, are stitched at both sides but not at the top and bottom, where slits that occurred during weaving have been stitched together later.