Name of Object:

Textile fragment with cockerel medallions


Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Royal Museum, National Museums of Scotland (NMS)

About Royal Museum, National Museums of Scotland (NMS), Edinburgh

Date of Object:

Hegira 4th–5th century / AD 11th–12th century

Museum Inventory Number:

A. 1934.482

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Woven silk with silver and gold threads.


Length 35.5 cm, width 22.8 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Possibly Baghdad, Iraq.


A plain-woven silk textile fragment thought to come from a shirt. The weave has a pattern inlaid with extra wefts of silver and gold strips in the manner of brocading. The colour scheme is predominantly red, with detailing in blue and yellow. The design consists of lozenge-shaped cartouches formed from individual flowers, these enclose octagons with red, yellow and blue outlines and a central cockerel, facing left. The spaces in between the lozenges are filled with decorative bands formed from an alternating pattern of large stars and small octagons with central star motifs.

View Short Description

The Muslim world was famous for its textile production, which built on Sassanid and Byzantine traditions and soon excelled these in sophistication and complexity. Court-sponsored workshops in Iraq, Iran, Egypt and later Spain competed to produce the most splendid silks as symbols of power and wealth.

How date and origin were established:

This textile has been dated tentatively to the 4th–5th / AD 11th–12th century on the basis of its clear stylistic relationship with post-Sasanian and early Islamic textiles.

How Object was obtained:

Purchased from Maurice Nahman, Paris, in 1934.

How provenance was established:

This textile has been associated with Abbasid Iraq on the basis of its clear stylistic relationship with post-Sassanid and early Islamic textiles from the region.

Citation of this web page:

Ulrike Al-Khamis "Textile fragment with cockerel medallions" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;uk;Mus03;4;en

Prepared by: Ulrike Al-KhamisUlrike Al-Khamis

Ulrike Al-Khamis is Principal Curator for the Middle East and South Asia at the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh. She began her academic career in Germany before completing her BA (1st class Hons) in Islamic Art and Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London in 1987. The same year she moved to Edinburgh, where she completed her Ph.D. thesis on “Early Islamic Bronze and Brass Ewers from the 7th to the 13th Century AD” in 1994. From 1994 to 1999 she worked as Curator of Muslim Art and Culture for Glasgow Museums and, in 1997, was one of the main instigators of the first ever Scottish Festival of Muslim Culture, SALAAM. Since 1999 she has been based at the Royal Museum in Edinburgh, where she has curated several exhibitions and continues to publish aspects of the collections. In addition to her museum work she has contributed regularly to the teaching of the Fine Arts Department at the University of Edinburgh.

Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: UK3 51


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