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Silk: weft-faced compound twill weave (samite)
Width across shoulders: 84.5 cm (33 1/4 in.); length back of neck to hem: 51.4 cm (20 1/4 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1996.2.1
The coat’s outer fabric is woven in five brilliant colors featuring paired ducks in pearl roundels, hallmarks of the precious and highly desired silks from Sogdia. The coat’s inner lining is a twill damask with a floral pattern made in China. The combination of Sogdian and Chinese silks in one garment with Tibetan ownership history is evidence of the vital exchange and cultural interaction among the peoples living along the trade routes of the Silk Road.
This precious coat, presumably made for a Tibetan prince, is the earliest dated textile here on display. Given the coat’s pristine condition, it is unclear whether the garment was ever worn, or was used as a diplomatic gift or perhaps as currency.
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