- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
- Roundel: Putto on a Horse
- Textile Arts
- Work Type
- 5th-7th century
- Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Africa, Egypt (Ancient)
- Byzantine period, Early
- Persistent Link
- Physical Descriptions
- Wool and linen, tapestry weave
- Woven, tapestry weave
- actual: 6.5 cm (2 9/16 in.)
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of The Hagop Kevorkian Foundation in memory of Hagop Kevorkian
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Asian and Mediterranean Art
- The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
- A figure nude except for flowing cape rides a white horse with its mouth open wide, perhaps whinnying. Red yarn marks out details of the figure's face, hand, and bellybutton against the golden body of the putto. Figure and horse are against indigo background with red border.
Slit and interlock tapestry. Strongly eccentric wefts. Several areas of ground fabric survive and are folded underneath the tapestry roundel.
- Typically, mounted horsemen woven into clothing were warriors or hunters and had a generally protective, amuletic function as they worked to defend the wearer against evil forces. However, the stumpy proportions of this rider, and his evident nudity reveal that a playful putti/eros is filling in the role of the heroic rider -- an effect that would likely have been humorous to the Byzantine wearer and viewer.
Mischievous putti like this one are often featured on domestic objects in the Byzantine world.
- Publication History
Ioli Kalavrezou, Byzantine Women and Their World, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2003), p. 176/fig. 93
- Exhibition History
Byzantine Women and Their World, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/25/2002 - 04/28/2003
32Q: 3740 Egyptian, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/28/2017 - 06/20/2018
- Subjects and Contexts
Google Art Project
This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at firstname.lastname@example.org