© Abegg-Stiftung, CH-3132 Riggisberg (Barbara Matuella)

SILK STATEMENT. The Annunciation is represented on a fragment of a silk burial shroud from Egypt (inventory no. 3100b at the Abegg-Stiftung textile museum) that dates to the first half of the fifth century C.E. A drawing of this scene appears here. In it, Mary kneels and draws water with a bucket. She is identified as “Maria” by a Greek label above her head. She is surprised by the angel Gabriel (the figure on the left), who leans toward her and proclaims, “Greetings!” Although the Annunciation is recorded in Luke 1:26–38, details of this scene, such as Mary at a water source, come from the Gospel of James, an apocryphal gospel. Along with other stories from the Gospel of James, this scene is part of a repeating pattern on the burial shroud.