Original textile is dated to the VII-VIIIth century. Ducks with such attributes were quite frequent on textiles and wall paintings during the Early Medieval.
The main source for our reconstruction were the two silk fragments from the Katoen Natie collection in Atwerp. The fragments are 14C dated to 650-780 A.D
Inv. 1022-01 a. and b. – Duck within roundels
For bringing back some authentic colors to the heavily faded material, we used other textiles from the same age and cultural context, which preserved more the original dyes.
A glimpse from the background work: Nadeem Ahmad’s sketches for the color reconstruction of the pattern.
About the pattern Antoine De Moor, Bruno Overlaet and Chris Verhecken-Lammens gives a really good and detailed description in their publication: Radio-carbon Dated Silk Road Samites in the Collection of Katoen Natie, Antwerp
Horizontal rows of roundels separated by large, circular flower like pattern and small quatrefoils. The ducks hold a necklace with three pendants in the beak, have fluttering ribbons at the neck and stand on a small pearled platform. Such upwards directed border is common is late Sassanian and Early Islamic iconography, and also visible on textile representations at Taq-i Bustan. The duck is a common subject on sassanian and post-Sassanian textiles. Fluttering ribbons and such three pendanted necklances are likely a sign for royal or divine affiliation.
Ducks seem to have been very popular. They appear, for example, as a principal as well as a secondary motif on a group of related textiles of which specimens were excavated in Dulan and others are present in the Aachen cathedral treasury and in the collection of the Abegg-Stiftung. The dispersal of such textiles explains the presence of similar motifs on other works of art. A duck appears, for example, in the 8th. century A.D. Sacramentary of Gelloni in the Bibliothèque Nationale. The way in which certain details of this bird are drawn, proves that the artist copied closely from an oriental textile. It is not only clear from the depiction of the necklace with three pendants, but also from the peculiar depiction of the feathering (squares with hearts in each corner like on a samite in the Aachen Cathedral, and the three toes placed somewhat strange-looking above each other. This wide dispersion of Late Sasanian iconography and its integration into the Central Asian, Byzantine and Early Islamic traditions, hampers any attempt to date such textiles on stylistic arguments only.
Source: De Moor, Antoine – Overlaet, Bruno -Verhecken-Lammens, Chris: Radio-carbon Dated Silk Road Samites in the Collection of Katoen Natie, Antwerp. In: Iranica Antiqua, vol. XLI, 2006