These engaging little birds are embroidered in a naturalistic style that developed during the 8th and 9th centuries. All but one are oriented away from the central pair that flanks a tulip growing from a hill. Contrasting with the spontaneity of the birds is the structured pattern of the silk ground—rosettes within a lozenge grid. Such contrasts frequently occur among embroideries of the Tang dynasty. Also characteristic of embroideries from that period is the use of discrete areas of color with no attempts at shading. The form of the birds, the hill, and the flower are based on Persian models. The introduction of foreign motifs into the decorative arts of Central Asia and China was one of the most important results of active trading in precious objects along the Silk Road.
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