Tab with linked crosses and pear-shaped medallionOn display
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Tab with linked crosses and pear-shaped medallion
Datelate 13th century - early 14th century
Mamluk Period (1250 - 1517)
Material and technique
cotton, dyed red, and embroidered with white flax; linen lining, partly embroidered with white flax; with stitching in flax
Dimensions19 x 15 cm (length x width)
ground fabric (cotton), along length/width 14 / 16 threads/cm (thread count)
ground fabric (linen), along length/width 26 / 26 threads/cm (thread count)
ground fabric (cotton) 0.1 cm max. (thread diameter)
ground fabric (cotton) 0.02 cm min. (thread diameter)
ground fabric (linen) 0.04 cm (thread diameter)
additional fibre, embroidery 0.05 cm (thread diameter)
No. of items
Presented by Professor Percy Newberry, 1941.
Museum locationLower ground floor | Gallery 5 | Textiles
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A tab with a border of linked cross-shapes and a pear-shaped medallion in the centre. The medallion contains a cross.
The tab is of red cotton with a linen backing. The interlaced embroidery is only stitched on the red cotton, while the chain stitch which frames the tab border goes through to the linen backing.
In: Barnes, Ruth and Marianne Ellis, ‘The Newberry Collection of Islamic Embroideries’, 4 vols, 2001, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum
The embroidery stitch on this tab is claimed by the Armenians, who call it heusvadr gar. It is a complex stitch worked in two stages by lacing threads through a foundation of herringbone stitches to form small crosses which can be arranged singly, in lines and also in medallions. The link with a traditional style of Armenian embroidery raises the question of whether this fragment was imported, or made in Cairo by Armenians who had settled in this great cosmopolitan centre of the Arab world. The designs do not provide a conclusive answer but it is interesting that one in this category is embroidered with a fleur-de-lys (another Mamluk blazon).
In: Ellis, Marianne, Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, in association with Greenville: Curious Works Press, 2001)
Barnes, Ruth and Marianne Ellis, ‘The Newberry Collection of Islamic Embroideries’, 4 vols, 2001, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, p. 201 (vol. iv), vol. iv p. 201
Ellis, Marianne, Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, in association with Greenville: Curious Works Press, 2001), no. 53 on p. 78, p. 10, illus. p. 79