Sep 2, 2008

Textile with Phoenixes and Dragons

Textile with Phoenixes and Dragons


Silk and gold thread; lampas

Overall: 20.3 x 20 cm (8 x 7 7/8 in.); Mounted: 31.4 x 31.1 cm (12 3/8 x 12 1/4 in.)

Edward L. Whittemore Fund 1995.73



This is one of the very few northern Chinese silk and gold textiles to have survived from the Yuan dynasty. The curled dragons chasing pearls, the phoenixes, and the background of tiny hexagons are Chinese motifs, but the lobed roundels enclosing the dragons and phoenixes indicate the influence of eastern Iranian craftsmen who had been relocated to northern China. A red and gold silk woven with the same pattern is preserved in Beijing. The extraordinary survival of the two silks demonstrates that patterns were typically used over and over.

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