Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Newberry Collection

Explore Percy and Essie Newberry's important collection of textiles including Islamic embroideries and Indian block-printed fragments.

Detail of block-printed textile fragment with band of rosettes and flowers, Gujarat, 1250-1350 (Museum No: EA1990.140)

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Textile fragment with diamond-shaped medallions containing a pseudo-Kufic word



  • kufic

    A term denoting various styles of angular Arabic script. Emerged in the early centuries of Islam, kufic soon became the preferred hand to copy holy texts.


    • currently in research collection

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.


Publications online

  • Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt by Marianne Ellis

    Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt

    The repeating motifs embroidered on this fragment have been arranged in offset rows which was a common way of creating all-over patterns on Mamluk textiles; these were sometimes worked in two colours, generally blue and red alternating. Beneath one, Professor Newberry pencilled in the word “health”. Evidently he thought the motif derived from the word al- 'âfiya (Arabic for good health, well-being) based on kufic letters repeated in mirror-image fashion. The motif appears in slightly different forms on several of the Newberry embroideries from the Mamluk period prompting the thought that the device was viewed as a protective or ‘good luck' symbol. However, it has also been suggested that it may have been derived from the word "Allah" and over time lost its significance.

    This motif is particularly interesting because it provides more evidence that designs in early European pattern books were influenced by Mamluk textiles. A similar image was published in Schönsperger's pattern book, Modelbuch, of 1524 [illustrated in publication].
  • The Newberry Collection of Islamic Embroideries by Ruth Barnes and Marianne Ellis

    The Newberry Collection of Islamic Embroideries

    Three diamond-shaped medallions, each containing the same design of a pseudo-Kufic word possibly from al-mulk 'the kingdom'.

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