'Clavus' of Coptic cloth...

Textiles and clothing


'Clavus' of Coptic clothing

8th century
Woven using the tapestry or interrupted taffeta technique. Linen warp. Wefts of multi-coloured wools
16 x 15 cm
Provenance unknown
MEV 10533

The 'clavus' was one of the adornments of the Coptic tunic that was placed at the bottom or on the shoulders. It could be square, oval or round. This one is oval, edged with a green border, partly lost, made of wools, with a decoration of two lines of natural linen colour that form meanders, and which at the point they intersect make up a medallion with a hare inside. The background is red with decorations of stylised floral elements in curved lines. It also has small oval medallions with floral decoration made with green wool inside and small triangles with green branches inside. In the middle there is a medallion framed with black wool and with a decoration that is intended to evoke small circles. Inside the medallion, which is in a very poor state, on a red background there is what seems like a bust or a four-legged animal, but its bad condition does not allow us to see it properly. The small green triangles are very similar to those on Fatimite fabrics, something that demonstrates the influence and the interrelation existing in Egypt, in the early centuries of Islamic rule, between the native fabrics, called Coptic, and the Islamic ones, made with the tapestry technique, as the latter were technically a continuation of the former and at the same time the Coptic ones received Islamic decorative influences.

9-10-11 Gothic Art
12-13-14 Renaissance
15-16 Textiles and Clothing
17 Glass