Fragments of sutra wrappers
Tang to Five dynasties, 600-900 AD
Silk threads, bamboo splints
Width 10.3 cm x height 28 cm (largest piece)
Width 2.4 cm x height 28.8 cm
Museum no. LOAN:STEIN.100 (Ch.iii.0012.a-b)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On loan from Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India
These two bamboo pieces once formed part of two different sutra wrappers. They are made of bamboo splints held together by bands of twined silks in three colours: red, green and yellow. The bands on the smaller piece have a floral design; the bands on other a lozenge design with a seated Buddha to the upper left.
In ancient China books were given protective covers, usually made of a textile of some kind. When a book or scroll was not in use, it was rolled up in the wrapper and secured with a wrapper tie. Sutra wrappers, as well as banners, were suitable gifts from fervent believers and from monasteries.