Textile medallion

Accession Number
Current Location
House of Life (first floor), Drawers beneath textiles case, Drawer 3
Object Type
Clothing, Medallion
Byzantine Period
Fibre/textile (from plants and animals) (Flax) | Textile/fibres (Linen) | Textile/fibres (Wool)
Length: 265mm | Width: 277mm
Number of Elements

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A textile medallion in the form of an eight-pointed star made of purple-brown wool woven with undyed linen. The points of the star enclose serrated leaf clusters, presumably vine leaves with a fine interlace pattern in the Centre. It is similar to W858. Such medallions would have been used to decorate tunics in the first millennium AD. Diane Lee Carolle believes that complex interlace patterns were believed to have protective powers against the evil eye as they force the eye to move backwards and forwards over the surface (Carroll, 1986, 'Looms and Textiles of the Copts'. p86). The eight pointed star is a Byzantine motif of the fourth to sixth century AD (Lewis 1974, 171). Erikson (1997, 139) states that eight had a cosmological meaning of eternity and heavenly harmony and the eighth day was the day of Christ's resurrection (Erikson, M. 1997 'Textiles in Egypt 200-1500 AD in Swedish Collections' University of Gottenburg). Vine leaves are found in Roman and Coptic art and belong to both the Dionysian and Christian religions (Erikson 1997, 101).


Lewis, S. 1974. 'Review of 'Coptic Textiles in the Brooklyn Museum' by Deborah Thompson' JEA 33, 1. 169-171. Pritchard, F. 2004 'Clothing Culture. Dress in Egypt in the First millennium AD. Clothing from Egypt in the collection of The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester.' Manchester. Lewis, S. 1969 'Early Coptic Textiles' p 29 plate 21.

Last modified: 30 Dec 2022

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