The design for this tapestry kit is based on an eighth
century fragment of silk serge, formerly in the treasure
of the Sancta Sanctorum, where it was used as a cushion
for the enamel cross of Pope Paschal (AD 817-824). The
highly stylised nature of the design is typical of
Byzantine art and textiles. The original is now housed in
the Museo Sacro, Vatican, Rome, Italy.
According to Greek mythology, Pegasus sprang from the
gorgon Medusa's neck when she was killed by Perseus.
Pegasus then flew to mount Helicon, where, having struck
the ground with his hoof, a spring began to flow which
became sacred to the Muses. Bellerophon, King of Corinth,
managed to capture Pegasus with a golden bridle, enabling
him to destroy the three-headed monster Chimaera.
Unfortunately, however, this caused Bellerophon to have an
inflated opinion of his greatness, and he attempted to fly
on Pegasus to join the gods on Olympus. An enraged Zeus
sent an insect to annoy Pegasus, causing the horse to
throw Bellerophon from his back. Pegasus was then
installed in the Olympian stables where he was entrusted
to bring Zeus his lightning and thunderbolts.