2 feet x 1 foot 2 inches
61 cm. by 36 cm.
This wondrous fragment's rich elements provide an intriguing look at a very
early weaving which was made as decoration only - it had no utilitarian use.
Unlike the rest of this exhibition, this embroidery and the next were decorative
cloths made of silk and are presumably Christian Armenian in origin. However,
they seem to be physically older and visually more complex than other known
examples and their designs exhibit a sophistication rarely encountered in weavings
made after 1500 AD. (1)
Only very rarely can a design be directly provenanced to a specific source but
deciphering the identity of the large horned-man figure has provided such an
opportunity. He is the chthonic weather-god.(2) who appears carved into a rock
sanctuary at Yazilika, a Hittite monument. The carved figure has the turned-up
shoes and horned mitre and hieroglyphic label saying"the weather-God..."(3)
The appearance of the weather-god icon on a weaving made almost 2,000 years
after his religious/cultural association was viable is quite remarkable. Perhaps
forensic examination of this and the following embroidery will provide evidence
linking them more closely to the time of the Hittites.
1.Because any questions of dating will have to await new techniques
which, unlike carbon-14, will be accurate for animal fiber weavings that are
non-archaeological and date post 1000A.D., no guesstimates will be offered.
Instead, a chronological posting of how a weaving relates to others of its particular
group will at times be referred to in the following plate descriptions.
2. the Hittite deity who ruled over all things which rested underground
3. refer to page 93 in "The Ancient Gods" by E.O.James 1960 for further information
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