China, Northern, Liao dynasty (907-1125)
Compound twill, silk; tapestry, silk and gold; tabby, silk; gauze, silk; silk batting; leather, Overall: 34.9 x 25 cm (13 3/4 x 9 13/16 in.). John L. Severance Fund 1992.349.1
The fabric and tailoring of garments have always defined social status. For these boots, different outer fabrics were used: a patterned silk for the leg portion, and tapestry (kesi) for the foot. Since both were considered luxury fabrics, they were pieced together from remnants too precious to discard. Consequently, the silk pattern was not used in relation to the form of the boot, as seen in some other imperial boots. By contrast, these boots would have been made for a court official, not a member of the imperial family. The patterned silk was woven with geese flanking a vase of flowers on a stand and surrounded by cloud scrolls. The Chinese motif of flowers arranged in a vase was adopted by the Liao during the 11th century and indicates an 11th- or early 12th-century date for the boots.
CMA, October 26, 1997 - January 4, 1998: "When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles," catalogue number 10, pp. 46-48, reproduced in color, p. 46Also to: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, March 3 - May 17, 1998
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