© Benaki Museum

Name of Object:

Pile carpet fragment


Athens, Greece

Holding Museum:

Benaki Museum


8th-10th century

Type of object:


Museum Inventory Number:



15 x 22 cm




This is the lower section of a border with a relatively legible kufic inscription which can be roughly translated: “[Blessing] from God to the owner, what was made...” The rich decoration is divided into two sections. One has a greenish-blue ground and the other a deep red. The first section is ornamented with two rows of lozenges with a cotton off-white contour, followed by two thin bands, one orange and the other greenish-blue, on which rest a mustard-yellow garland with triple-lobed leaves, surrounding the inscription as if to give it emphasis. The inscription is woven with undyed cotton on a deep red woollen ground. The vivid colours and dense, carefully worked weaving with additional wefts give this fragment its special quality.

How date and origin were established:

It belongs to a group of fragments attributed to Egypt and their dating between the 8th and the 11th century. In addition, the form of the kufic inscription belongs to this period

How Object was obtained:

Purchased from Fokion Tanos in 1947

How provenance was established:

Factors that determine the provenance: 1. The use of linen, which is the basic Egyptian fibre, for both warps and wefts; 2. The left-twisting (S) spin of the materials is also an Egyptian feature. Linen warps S-spun, Z-plied are found in Coptic fabrics of the 9th-10th century. Right-twisted spinning (Z) is rarely found in Group A; 3. The technique of weaving with cut-pile loops which continues the long-standing Egyptian tradition of weaving with a pile made of loops; 4. The pattern, colouring and techniques of this group fragments bear a close resemblance to contemporaneous Coptic textiles. 5. The fragments display similarities to certain inscribed and non-inscribed fragments from Fustat.

Selected bibliography:

Published in Theologou, J., Ozoline, A., Sartzetakis, Y., "Fustat Carpet Fragments", Hali, 156 (summer 2008): 65-71.

Citation of this web page:

Mina Moraitou "Pile carpet fragment" in [Discover Carpet Art] , Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;DCA;gr;Mus31;4;en&id=carpets

Prepared by: Mina Moraitou

MWNF Working Number: GR1_004

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