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Curtain Fragment with Panthers

Curtain Fragment with Panthers

500s

Slit-tapestry weave; dyed wool, undyed linen

Overall: 76.2 x 54.6 cm (30 x 21 1/2 in.); Mounted: 87.6 x 66 x 2.5 cm (34 1/2 x 26 x 1 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1980.31

Description

Luxurious tapestry-woven curtains decorated with colorful figures and flora were hung in religious, palatial, and theatrical settings. Often, as here, red forms the background of the main field framed by a blue border. Lively cheetahs or panthers wearing collars appear among alternating stylized rosettes and floral roundels, which frame birds on the red ground. In the border, pairs of masks and birds alternate. Cheetahs were favored for hunting, suggested here by the collars and, in one case, a harness. Panthers, on the other hand, were associated with Dionysus, Greek god of wine, who was admired by Egyptians of all religions through the 6th century AD.

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