Think the Middle East is a cultural mosh pit now? This amazing piece of hand-loomed silk – the Virgin Mary and her angel are woven right into the fabric – seems to have been made somewhere around Egypt or Syria in the 8th or 9th century, when that part of the world had been under Muslim rule for 100 years at least. (Click on the image to see it in detail.) A new show at the Metropolitan Museum shows how Christian culture could flourish side-by-side with Islam, and both could profit from the encounter. My full review is in today’s Newsweek. (The swatch itself comes to the Met from the Vatican, where it seems to have landed 1,200 or more years ago.)
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