Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections
Excavated at Akhmin in Upper Egypt, this silk fragment may originally have decorated a tunic as either a cuff band or a clavus, a type of ornament that ran vertically from the shoulders to the hemline. The highly stylized design, which dates the fragment to the seventh or eighth century, shows a warrior saint, possibly Saint George, standing with a dragon at his feet in the lower panel and a bird of prey attacking an animal above; both scenes are flanked by floral borders. In the complete textile each image was most likely repeated in each panel as a mirror of itself, which indicates that the fabric was woven on the draw-loom. The use of religious subjects to decorate clothing during the early Byzantine period was both a testament to the wearer's faith and a means of invoking divine protection. Dilys Blum, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 72.