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 © Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal

Name of Object:

Textile fragment


Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Holding Museum:

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts


Late 16th–early 17th century

Type of object:

Textile fragment

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Silk, silver thread, double cloth


15.8cm x 14.5cm

Period / Dynasty:

Safavid (1501–1722/36)


Iran, Yazd


Textiles constitute a major part of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ collection of Islamic art. The decorative arts had great symbolic and social importance in the Islamic world. The skills of the weavers of the time have rarely been equalled, and this fragment is among the pieces that demonstrate the complexity and innovation of their techniques. Figurative designs, which were extremely popular in 16th-century Persia, appeared on garments and palace furnishings, as well as in religious and funeral ceremonies. In this fragment of reversible double cloth depicting “Boats at Sea”, two fabrics have been produced simultaneously, one over the other, following a repeat pattern of remarkable detail: sailing boats with four sailors alternating with simple rowing boats carrying three figures, all on a sea filled with fish and ducks. The vertical masts create the impression of stability, while the diagonal placement of the rowing boats suggests a rocking motion. The red motifs lay on a silver-thread ground.

How date and origin were established:

Stylistic and comparative analyses; Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art, London: Royal Academy, 1931, cat. no. 301a.

How Object was obtained:

Purchase, D. W. Parker Fund

Purchased from Heeramaneck Galleries, New York, in 1949, D. W. Parker Fund

Selected bibliography:

Salam-Liebich, Hayat, Art islamique: objets du quotidien / Islamic Art: Objects for Daily Use, Montreal: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1983: 61.
Salam-Liebich, Hayat, “Masterpieces of Persian Textiles from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Collection”, Iranian Studies, 25.1–2 (1992): 19–29, 26, fig. 5.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Guide, 1960: 23.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Guide, 2007: 42.

Citation of this web page:

Shirin Shafiee "Textile fragment"  [db_in_citation_dca]  2019.;DCA;ca;Mus31;2;en

Prepared by: Shirin Shafiee
Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: CA1_002

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