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A Silk Medallion of the Haifa Museum of Antique Art / מדאליון-משי במוזיאון לאמנות עתיקה בחיפה

חוה בר and Eva Baer
Eretz-Israel: Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies / ארץ-ישראל: מחקרים בידיעת הארץ ועתיקותיה
Vol. ז‎, L.A. MAYER MEMORIAL VOLUME (1895-1959) / ספר ל.א. מאיר במלאות חמש שנים לפטירתו‎ (1964 / תשכ"ד), pp. 39-46
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23614645
Page Count: 9
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A Silk Medallion of the Haifa Museum of Antique Art / מדאליון-משי במוזיאון לאמנות עתיקה בחיפה
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Abstract

The Haifa Museum of Antique Art possesses a multicoloured, drawloom-woven silk medallion, 26 cm. in diameter and about 1 mm. thick. It shows a symmetric composition of two addorsed galloping horsemen, each aiming his bow at a lion crouching beside his horse, and vegetal ornaments inserted at the top and bottom of the vertical axis. A garland, composed of four elongated leaves emerging from cornucopia, frames the composition. The fragment belongs to a cloth now dispersed in European and American collections, on which this medallion forms a recurrent pattern. The style of both the figurative and ornamental elements of the design is essentially late Hellenistic. Lateness is suggested by signs of decline, such as exaggeration and conventionality in the clothing of the horsemen and the figures of the horses and lions. There are ties with slightly earlier Hellenistic art, as represented, inter alia, by Antiochia and Beth Shean mosaics (e.g. in the heads of the persons), as well as traces of Sasanian—Iranian influence (e.g. the shape of the bows and the getup of the horses). It seems possible that the motifs under reference were transferred to silk fabrics from mosaics, via carpets. The features occurring in the medallion were wide-spread in the Mediterranean area, including Coptic Egypt. In default of archaeological information or any inscription or other specific clue on the piece itself, a definite date or location cannot be assigned to it; pure stylistic analysis suggests, however, a Syrian origin, shortly before or after the Arab conquest.

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