Part of a set. See all set records
Silk: tapestry weave; two kinds of metal threads
Overall: 47.5 x 30.8 cm (18 11/16 x 12 1/8 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1993.158
This magnificent pair of boots, made of finely woven silk tapestry (kesi), features two phoenixes in flight chasing a flaming pearl. Although the bright colors of the fabric have become muted from being buried in a tomb and the gold threads are partly disintegrated, the once lavish use of gold and the Chinese-inspired phoenix motif suggest that the boots were made for a member of the Liao imperial family, probably a woman. At the time the boots were made in the Khitan-occupied territory in northern China, footbinding was introduced among upper-class women in southern China. The high value the Khitan people accorded to boots relates to their mobile, seminomadic lifestyle.
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