Skip to Content

Tunic Clavi

7th century - 10th century
wool and linen

Not on view


This object depicts figures (or "saints") on a woolen tunic fragment. The multi-colored border which outlines the clavi and orbiculi consists of interlocking curvilinear shapes along one side and connecting the clavus and orbiculus, with an inverted T shape along the other side and encircling the orbiculus. Nimbed orant figures in brightly patterned long robes stand on a ground line above a diaper whose main elements are an animal and candelabra tree, with birds (?) in the half lozenges by the borders. The orbiculi contain a section of the diaper, that with a candelabra tree. The colors used are: undyed linen, natural brown, dark blue, medium blue, light blue, green, yellow, and light blue wool. The backing to which the clavi are applied is wool tapestry that is light blue and undyed wool in color with white stripes. A deep tuck was taken in it in antiquity.

Technical Description:
Warp: S-spun Z-plied undyed linen.
Wefts: S undyed linen, S natural brown, S dark blue, S medium blue, S light blue, S green, S yellow, S apricot, S red, wool.
1 tapestry, slit. 9-10 paired warps, 20-22 wefts, per cm. Some soumak wrapping with linen, yellow and light blue wool.
Warp: S-spun light blue, S-spun natural tan, wool.
Weft: S-spun light blue (mixture), wool; 8-9 warps, 18 wefts, per cm. Arrangement of the two colors of warp random. White wool stripes in the light blue ground of tunic.

D. Thompson, Unpublished Ms. of the Catalogue of Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection (1976), no. 88. Copy in dossier.

Acquisition History
Collection of Mrs. William Henry Crocker (Ethel Willard Sperry Crocker, 1861–1934), San Francisco, CA.

By descent to her four children, Ethel Mary Cocker De Limur (1891-1964), William W. Crocker (1893-1964), Helen Crocker Russell (1897-1966), and Charles Wynn Crocker (1904-1961), 1934.

On loan to the San Francisco Museum of Art until 1953, when the collection was shipped to Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.

Gift of William W. Crocker, Helen Crocker Russell, Ethel Mary de Limur, and Charles Crocker in memory of their mother, Mrs. William H. Crocker, 1955.

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Byzantine Collection, Washington, D.C.