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Tapestry Square with Female Bust
7th century
Wool and linen
L. 19.6 cm; W. 16.2 cm

Personifications of the earth goddess Ge or the four seasons served as benevolent powers in a household. Many extant textile portraits illustrate a richly dressed woman with pendant earrings and jeweled diadem, as in this piece. This bust medallion is framed within by two concentric circles, the inner one a garland of leaves and flowers. The spandrels feature two ducks in the upper corners, which may signify the waters surrounding the earth, with black and red putti below. Without any specific references to particular goddesses, images such as this bust may simply be associated with abundance and prosperity.

This female personification sports red hair, a green and gold cloak over a red dress and is set within a blue ground. Worked in wool on a linen warp in a tapestry weave technique, this relatively large fragment may have been part of a hanging or furnishing such as a cushion or couch cover.

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