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Lampas with griffins in roundels, from the Reliquary of Saint Librada in Siguenza Cathedral

Lampas with griffins in roundels, from the Reliquary of Saint Librada in Siguenza Cathedral

1100-1150

Lampas and plain-weave variant: silk and gold thread

Overall: 52.7 x 63.5 cm (20 3/4 x 25 in.); Mounted: 61 x 71.1 cm (24 x 28 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1952.152

Description

Luxury silks woven in Islamic Spain—where the Muslims ruled for nearly 800 years until 1492—transcended religious boundaries. They were worn by Christian kings, influenced designs in Jewish synagogues, and were the standard of beauty for elaborately decorated walls in the Muslim Alhambra Palace in Granada. Confronted griffins with gold heads dominate these roundels in a simplified yet monumental style. The pairs of dragons in the framing border, however, have lost their artistic impact since the green silk thread has disintegrated into brown specks. This silk is from the reliquary of Saint Librada in Siguenza cathedral.

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