Recently conducted technical analyses—including dye analysis and radiocarbon dating—indicate that the Met’s hanging should be considered in relation to a growing body of data gathered from the examination of related textiles in other collections. For a discussion on weft-loop pile textiles, which includes a rare example of a tunic fragment with pile on both sides, see S. The interior of this tailored tunic is entirely “lined” with weft-loop pile. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of George F. It is debatable, for example, whether textiles in this technique were knotted or wrapped around architectural elements in palaces, private homes, and public spaces, as is depicted in mosaic representations at the basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna (fig. The substantial amount of material used to create the pile could make these weavings rigid and heavy, disrupting the drape of the fabric. 5th–7th century; tapestry weave in multicolored wool and undyed linen on plain-weave ground in undyed linen; 71.0 × 67.5 cm. Clothing the House: Furnishing Textiles of the 1st Millennium AD from Egypt and Neighbouring Countries; Proceedings of the 5th Conference of the Research Group “Textiles from the Nile Valley,” Antwerp, 6–7 October 2007 The length of the loops can vary even within the same textile, creating areas of higher and lower pile, and thus enhancing the three-dimensionality of the weavings.
Since most textiles survive in fragmentary condition, conclusions about their original uses are generally based on observations of dimension, composition, and iconography.
I wish to thank Brandie Ratliff for sharing her research on the Peacock Hanging with me.
Ratliff presented a paper entitled “A First Look at MMA 90.5.808” at the Dumbarton Oaks Museum conference “Liminal Fabric: Furnishing Textiles in Byzantium and Early Islam,” Washington, DC, March 26–27, 2015, which closely relates to my paper entitled “Technical Analysis of a Late Antique Hanging at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” given at the same conference.