Oct 14, 2015
Oct 14, 2015

Textile with Diamonds

Textile with Diamonds


Silk, cotton, and silver thread: tabby with supplementary weft

Overall: 51.5 x 30.3 cm (20 1/4 x 11 15/16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1993.139



Few Central Asian luxury silks dating from the 10th-11th centuries have survived. Here the cotton wefts, together with thin, widely spaced silk warps, identify this example as Central Asian. Its date has been determined by comparing it with two related textiles that are securely dated. At this time Chinese silks with small-scale diamond patterns were usually reserved for undergarments or linings. The use of silver thread for the tiny diamonds in this example, however, may indicate that in Central Asia the design had greater importance. Over time, this textile made its way to Europe, where it was preserved in a church treasury. Because such textiles were expensive, rare, and sometimes associated with saints, they were highly valued regardless of their condition.

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