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Asian Art
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery

Textile Fragment with Confronted Sphinxes and Serpents

11th–12th century

Silk tapestry

23 1/16 × 26 9/16 in. (58.6 × 67.5 cm) framed: 30 3/4 × 33 5/8 in. (78.1 × 85.4 cm)
Hobart and Edward Small Moore Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. William H. Moore
1937.4607
Although they inevitably came to be associated with early Egyptian culture, sphinxes also appeared in textiles, ceramics, and paintings produced during the Seljuk period, and they were understood to be protectors of a king and his realm. The Seljuks were originally of Turkic, as opposed to Persian, origin, and the unidentified elements at the top of this fragment are thought to represent different chieftains or polities.
Culture: 
Iranian, Islamic
Period: 
Iran, Seljuk period (1037–1194)
Classification: 
Textiles
Provenance: 

Said to have been found near Isfahan; Arthur Upham Pope (1881–1969) and Phyllis Ackerman (1893–1977) Collection, 1932; Mrs. William H. Moore (1858–1955) New York; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Bibliography: 

Dr. Phyllis Ackerman, Tapestry: The Mirror of Civilization (New York: Oxford University Press, 1933), 234.

Arthur Upham Pope and Dr. Phyllis Ackerman, Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present, 6 vols. (London: Oxford University Press, 1938), 982; 2003, vol. 6, 3.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.