Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, August 11, 1934

Finance Ministry



Dear Robert

I have just asked Sangiorgi to send you photos of:

  1. Two silk claviThese clavi are referenced in a letter from the Giorgio Sangiorgi to Robert Woods Bliss, October 12, 1934: “two Claves and Tabula.” Byzantine Collection, Sangiorgi correspondence file. (bands ornamenting garments) from Ahkmin [sic],Akhmim, a city in Upper Egypt located on the east bank of the Nile River. VIe–VIIe cent. Of very good style, and the best preserved I know. Sangiorgi’s last price for these is Lire 18000 minus 10% = L. 16,200. I think you’d do well to get them. They are better than the similar ones in the V. & A.For silk clavi in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, see Albert F. Kendrick, Catalogue of Muhammadan Textiles of the Mediaeval Period (London, 1924), 24, 26–27, 28, nos. 908, 916, 921, and 922. & Berlin.For silk clavi in Berlin, see Oskar Wulff and Wolfgang Friedrich Volbach, Spätantike und koptische Stoffe aus ägyptischen Grabfunden in den Staatlichen Museen, Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum, Ägyptisches Museum, Schliemann-Sammlung (Berlin: E. Wasmuth, 1926), 147 and 149, nos. 9270 and 9271, pl. 133.
  1. A late, XIe–XIIe silk with affronted eagles in roundels, from the Cath. of Salzburg.This silk has not been identified. It doesn’t belong to Sangiorgi, & the price asked is L. 80,000. The stuff is hard & dry looking, & rather an ugly rusty purple. As you’ll see, the lower roundel is almost all paint. I don’t advise you to buy, but am having the photo. sent as the piece is well-known & may interest you.

A few days ago Stora wrote saying he had the Trivulzio consular diptych (Philoxenus),BZ.1935.4.a–b. which I’ve examined at Trivulzio’s,Luigi Alberico Trivulzio (1868–1938), Prince of Musocco and Marchese of Sesto Ulteriano. Trivulzio was responsible for the sale of much of his family’s art collection. & consider very fine. I asked him to send you a photo., & when I next go to Paris I’ll see Stora & inquire about price.

Since getting Stora’s letter, & replying, I’ve had another from Sangiorgi, also offering to us the Trivulzio diptych. (??) I’m telling him that it’s already been offered me from another quarter.

Hayford is buying four small fragmentsThese may include textiles now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Roundel with Amazons and a Cross, Egypt or Syria (?), seventh–ninth century (?), silk, acc. no. 1987.442.5; Fragment, Egypt or Syria, eighth century, silk, acc. no. 1987.440.1; and Fragment, Egypt or Syria, fifth–ninth century, silk, acc. no. 1987.440.3. (Akhmin [sic]Akhmim, a city in Upper Egypt located on the east bank of the Nile River. & later) from Sangiorgi for L. 22000—10% = 19,800. One is very interesting to us, as it has a bit of a Cufic inscription, and thus shows that a well-known type of Egypto-Byz. Silk continued to be woven without change after the Arab conquest.

Love to you both.


R. T.

Associated People: Giorgio Sangiorgi; Hayford Peirce
Associated Places: Budapest (Hungary)
Associated Things: M. & R. Stora, Paris
Associated Artworks: BZ.1935.4.a-b