Fragment of silk textile
Museum no. 828-1894
The Muslims introduced sericulture (silk production) and silk-weaving to Spain. By the 12th century Almería, on the Peninsula's south-eastern coast, had grown into one of the greatest ports in the Mediterranean, and was well-known as a production centre for 'costly silks of the brightest colours'. Silks were woven here for the highest levels of society, and exported in large numbers, especially to the Christian kingdoms of northern Iberia. Their designs usually featured paired animals inside roundels, inspired by silks from Byzantium and pre-Islamic Iran. The raised eye-tails of the paired peacocks on this silk would have appeared like roundels when repeated across the surface of a large textile. Above and below the birds is a mirror-image inscription in Kufic script which repeats the phrase 'perfect blessing'.