Silk and gold thread: lampas
Overall: 170.5 x 109 cm (67 1/8 x 42 15/16 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1990.2
Mongol cloths of gold, called nasji, incorporate Iranian, Central Asian, and Chinese features, reflecting the effects of gift exchanges and international commerce.
Mongol taste for luxury was equated with gold, symbol of imperial authority, power, and legitimacy. This splendid cloth of gold-exceptionally large and luxurious-may have enriched the interior of a palace or a majestic tent. The golden pattern, although tarnished on the faded red silk ground, features scalloped medallions with felines whose long tails terminate in dragons’ heads amid elegant floral vines. Double-headed eagles form interstitial motifs on the floral ground. A radiant gold-on-gold band of pseudo-Arabic script enriches the top, woven with gold strips wrapped around a silk core on a ground of flat strips of gold, immediately beneath the pattern testing area.
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