Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Roundel textile fragment with repeated inscription and lion


    • currently in research collection

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.


Publications online

  • The Newberry Collection of Islamic Embroideries by Ruth Barnes and Marianne Ellis

    The Newberry Collection of Islamic Embroideries

    A large roundel has a border band with a repeated inscription of 'al-'izz' (glory) and a small lion at the centre, set into a circle.

    The lion may be a reference to Sultan Baybars. The roundel apparently was once sewn onto another ground fabric, as there are remains of stitching all around the circle.

    The cloth has been radiocarbon dated to 1272 AD +/- 36
  • Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt by Marianne Ellis

    Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt

    The lion in the centre of the roundel is depicted in the heraldic stance associated with the blazon of the Mamluk Sultan Baybars (1260-77), and his son Baraka Khan (1277-79). The word al-’izz (glory) is repeated round the edge of the circle, probably taken from the phrase “glory to our Lord the Sultan” which is found on many inscriptions on other media. All kinds of objects belonging to Mamluk royal personages and their officers of state, ranging from clothing, including footwear, to household items such as lamps and bowls, were decorated with heraldic blazons. The needlework is carried out in herringbone stitches placed closely together, following the shapes of the letters as if writing them. Before the hemstitching was undone, the roundel would have been recognisable as a cover. The cloth was first turned under at the outer circle of herringbone stitching and then the raw edges turned under and hemmed to form a casing through which a cord was threaded. The roundels in the Newberry collection form an interesting group worked in a variety of designs and stitches, demonstrating that they were made over a long period of time. They vary in size from 6.5cm to 20cm in diameter, and from pretty ones designed for the purpose, to others patched together from used fabric. Their most likely function was as covers to preserve the contents of jars from dust and pests. The pronounced lips of drug jars of the type known as albarelli meant that cloth covers could be securely fastened under their rims using threaded cords. A roundel in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, (inv.no. 48.1059) gives us the best idea of how the others might have looked. The cover is complete with a long drawstring, threaded through the casing, ending with an elaborate tassel 9cm long.

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