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Creator Name: Unknown
Creator Nationality: European; Northern European; Strasbourgian
Creator Name-CRT: upper Rhenish (Strasbourg)
Title Type: Object name
Title: The Queen of Sheba before King Solomon
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1490
Creation End Date: 1500
Creation Date: 1490-1500
Creation Place: Upper Rhenish, Strasbourg
Object Type: Textiles
Classification Term: Textiles-Tapestries
Materials and Techniques: Linen warp; wool, linen, and metallic wefts
Dimensions: 311/2 x 40 in. (80 x 101.6 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1971.43
Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1971
Elaborating on the account in the Book of Kings (1 Kings 10:1-3), this tapestry depicts the Queen of Sheba standing before Solomon and posing a riddle concerning the apparently identical flowers in her hand and the indistinguishable children before her. She asks, 'Tell me, King, whether the flowers and children are of the same or different kind.' Solomon replies, 'The bee does not pass up a good flower; kneeling shows the female style,' indicating that a bee will fly to the real flower and that the girl is the child who kneels to gather fruit in her skirt.
The depictions of Solomon and Sheba echo the compositions of some late-fifteenth-century prints. The tapestry, however, is enlivened by color, texture, and background details. There are gilt and metallic threads in the queen's sleeves, the king's crown, scepter, and finial, and both figures' belts. The textures of the queen's gown and mantle are rendered with knots that were tied with wool and then cut. This technique is associated with Strasbourg workshops, an attribution strengthened by the form of German in the inscriptions. The tapestry was probably used as a wall hanging or cushion cover.
AMICA ID: MMA_.1971.43
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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