These are two rectangular pieces of plain woven silk patterned with the clamp-resist dyeing technique. The pattern comprises a roundel, made of small rosettes, enclosing a pair of deer with a flowering tree in the middle. Outside of the roundel is a quatrefoil. When four similar pieces are compared (these two; another in the British Museum [MAS.875, cat.025]; and one more in the State Hermitage Museum [Дх55]),1 it is possible to estimate the size of the roundel. The diameter is about 56 cm, which is probably larger than the loom width of the plain woven silk, and the roundel runs beyond the selvedge on MAS.875. The pattern was dyed with two basic colours using two sets of clamp blocks: reddish orange mainly for the ground (though it is not clear now) and blue for the deer, tree and roundel. The two colours overlapped in places, creating special effects such as, for example, the rosettes alternating in brownish blue and bright blue. The undyed outline is not as well defined as on other clamp-resist dyed pieces. The two pieces were originally
sewn together to form the panel of a banner.
Although the motif of paired deer with a tree in-between is typically Central Asian or Western Asian in design, the deer in these pieces are clearly oriental deer, not ibex or stags. Furthermore, the border of the roundel is not formed by pure linked pearls, as is commonly seen in Central Asian art, but by linked florets. These features indicate that the two pieces date from the late Tang.
Warp: silk, untwisted, single, 52 ends/cm; Weft: silk, untwisted, 42 lats/cm. Weave structure: 1/1 plain weave.
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