Arabic pallium, 16th century3 November 2011
Dimensions: cross-shaped appliqués: 33 x 33 cm., potamoi: 35 x 7.5 cm., decorative band: 35 x 5 cm.
The scenes are enacted against a dark green background in four-lobed circles, the vacant space in which is filled in with serpentine anthemia. The arms at the extremities of the appliqués are decorated with intertwining three-leafed anthemia.
The scenes in the four-lobed circles deal with the Passion of Christ and are accompanied by ill-spelt and abbreviated inscriptions in Greek: “HE THAT COMETH UPON THE CROSS”: the Crucifixion, without inscription, the “DESCENT FROM THE CROSS”, which includes two scenes – the removal of the body of Christ from the Cross and Christ lying on the stone on which He was anointed – and the “RESURRECTION”, in the type of the Descent into Hell.
The hem of the lengthwise edges of the vestment has six potamoi, three on each edge. The first two bear a Kufic inscription, read from right to left: “AL ADILATU LISAN ALLAH”, which translates as “Righteousness is the language of God”22.
It is repeated many times on each strip in such a way as to serve as decoration. Each of the four other potamoi has on it five circles which enclose four-leafed flowers, also with a Kufic feeling. The vestment can be dated by the cross-shaped appliqués, on which the scenes and the summary and ill-spelt inscriptions are reminiscent of the stole of the 15th century and that of Radu Païsié (see Nos 9-10). This Kufic script, which was in use from the 12th to the 16th century, supports dating to the 15th century.