1200s or earlier
Tapestry, silk and gold thread
Overall: 60 x 32 cm (23 5/8 x 12 5/8 in.)
Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1988.33
Although the theme of dragons chasing the flaming pearl is Chinese, the eccentric form of the dragons and the way they have been crowded together are not. Other kesi woven with this design preserve parts of a bracketed medallion resembling the so-called cloud-collars worn in Central Asia. The intended purpose of kesi with cloud-collar medallions is not clear. Considering that cloud-collars were worn in Central Asia, these tapestries may have been woven for use as clothing. Hong Hao (1088-1155), a Chinese emissary, reported that the Uyghurs wove robes of kesi. Cloud-collar medallions, however, were also used in other decorative contexts, and it is possible that tapestries such as these served other purposes.
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