The creature what we call nowadays Senmurv was a mythological beast, what researchers identify with the creature known from the Persian Book of Kings – Senmurv. There are debates that if this identification is accurate or not, however the figure of the animal definitely comes from the same place: it has a Sassanian origin.
The picture of the Senmurv remained to us not only the Iranian artefacts (for example silver palates, rock reliefs), but it was definitely a well known and “used” beast in the Medieval period. It appears in various textiles found in Europe thought the centuries. Even a Hungarian pouch plate or an Italian sarcophagus preserved the figure for the eternity.
Silks with Senmurvs
VI-VII. century* From the reliquary of St Leu in Paris. Victoria and Albert Museum, London
There is a second piece in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.
Source:W. Fritz Volbach: Early Decorative Textiles. 1969
*note that the literature is quite old, and likely misdated
IXth century The “Senmurv kaftan” from Moshchevaya Balka
Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg Source: Anna A. Jerusalimskaya – Moshchevaja Balka 2012.
VIII-IXth century Pillow and sudarium of St Remigus Silk twill Byzantine (or Persian) St Remi, Rheims
The sudarium was placed by bishop Hincmar of Rheims over the body of St Remigus (died 533) when it was moved to the newly-built church (852). The pillow, as the embroidery on the border informs us, was made by Princess Anpais, at the bishop’s request. The design of the senmurv is almost identical to that of the London hippocampi.
Source of the picture and the text:
W. Fritz Volbach: Early Decorative Textiles. 1969
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence Source:W. Fritz Volbach: Early Decorative Textiles. 1969