The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of July 25, 2024

Tapestry with golden lions and palmettes

Tapestry with golden lions and palmettes

1200s or earlier
Overall: 63.5 x 34.7 cm (25 x 13 11/16 in.); Mounted: 73.7 x 45.7 cm (29 x 18 in.)
Location: not on view

Did You Know?

Dye analysis has been done on some of the colored yarns in this fragment. The orange, scarlet, and pink dye comes from the safflower plant, the red and darker pink dye from the bark of a small evergreen tree called the China brasiliensis, and the blue dye from the indigo plant.

Description

This reversible tapestry (kesi) fragment, woven with silk and metal thread, is a section from yardage likely intended for a garment, but no contemporary paintings exist to confirm this. A fringe of warps and a striped starting edge are preserved at the bottom of this fragment, as is a selvage along the left edge. Iranian golden lions, traditional symbols of royalty, are depicted amid large palmette leaves on vines. This kesi is different from other Central Asian silk kesi in the repetition of lions and palmettes in horizontal rows, facing alternate directions in an asymmetrical Chinese-inspired layout. But the depiction of lions with parted manes and tilted heads dates from the Sasanian dynasty of Iran (226–637 CE). The palmettes are common to both the Iranian world and Central Asia. This kesi may have been woven by Uyghurs living in the vicinity of Khotan, where the influence of Iranian culture was strong.
  • ?–1991
    (Spink & Son, Ltd., London, England, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
    1991–
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Simcox, Jacqueline. "Silks from the Middle Kingdom." Hali: The International Magazine of Fine Carpets and Textiles, Issue 43, (February 1989). p. 16-33; illus. fig. 2, p. 18.
    Taylor, George. "Official colours: dyes on Chinese textiles of the Northern Song Dynasty." Hali: The International Magazine of Fine Carpets and Textiles, Issue 58, (August 1991). p. 81-82, illus. p. 83
    Turner, Evan H. "Selected 1991 Acquisitions." The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 79, no. 2 (1992): 63-83. Reproduced: p. 67; Mentioned: p. 83 www.jstor.org
    Watt, James C. Y., Anne E. Wardwell, and Morris Rossabi. When silk was gold: Central Asian and Chinese textiles. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art in cooperation with the Cleveland Museum of Art: Distributed by H.N. Abrams, 1997. cat. no. 19, p. 80-2
    Watt, James C. Y., and Maxwell K. Hearn. The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2010. Reproduced: fig. 260, p. 246
    Mackie, Louise W. Symbols of Power: Luxury Textiles from Islamic Lands, 7th-21st Century. Cleveland; New Haven: Cleveland Museum of Art; Yale University Press, 2015. Reproduced: P. 36, fig. 1.20a, P. 229, fig. 6.14; Mentioned: P. 228
    Highet, Juliet. "Silks from Islamic Lands." The Asian Art Newspaper: Monthly for Collectors, Dealers, Museums and Galleries 17, issue 5 (March 2014):16-18. Reproduced: p. 18
    Fircks, Juliane von. "Dou Royaume des Tartares vient Drap Dor et de Soie." Histoire de l'Art 82, issue 1 (2018). Reproduced: p. 176, fig. 9
  • Luxuriance: Silks from Islamic Lands, 1250–1900. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (May 14, 2013-June 23, 2014).
    The World of Kubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (organizer) (September 20, 2010-January 2, 2011).
    When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian & Chinese Textiles from the Cleveland and Metropolitan Museums of Art. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (October 26, 1997-January 4, 1998); The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (October 26, 1997-January 4, 1998); The Metropolitan Museum of Art (organizer) (March 2-May 17, 1998); The Metropolitan Museum of Art (organizer) (March 2-May 17, 1998).
    Object Lessons: Cleveland Creates an Art Museum. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (June 7-September 8, 1991).
  • {{cite web|title=Tapestry with golden lions and palmettes|url=false|author=|year=1200s or earlier|access-date=25 July 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

Source URL:

https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1991.3