Byzantine Horse, 6th century
A larger image of this Byzantine Horse, 6th century.
This whimsical, saddled, and fully harnessed but riderless horse was part of a larger curtain or wall hanging of a type popular in the late 5th and early 6th century. Curtains and wall hangings were used in private homes, as well as in public and religious buildings, to prevent drafts, divide spaces, and provide privacy. The tapestry weave of this piece is ideal for such textiles, as it produces a design that can be viewed from either side. The complete hanging likely would have had many identical roundels (one is in the Cleveland Museum of Art) in staggered rows on a background interspersed with baskets and birds. These designs are traditionally Egyptian, while the roundel borders of heart or rose petal chains and the stylized trees are adapted from imported Sassanian silks.
Source: The Walters Art Museum. Accession number: 83.461
Byzantine Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers
Other 6th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers