Floral painting

Floral painting

Floral painting
China
Mid-Tang to Five dynasties, late 700-900 AD
Plain weave in silk, clamp-resist dyed and painted
Width 47 cm x height 50 cm
Museum no. LOAN:STEIN.298 (Ch.00439)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On loan from Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India

This fairly large rectangular piece of plain woven yellow silk is painted with a flower and bird design in red and blue, outlined in black. There is a naturalistic peony in the centre entwined flowers on either side. Analysis of the pigments of the paint revealed that the dark blue areas contained carbon and also identified vermilion in the dull pink areas nearby.

The painted fabric is stitched in red silk thread to a doubled piece of plain woven yellow silk, the upper layer of which has the remains of a clamp-resist dyed floral design in red and blue. These interlocking rosettes are identical to another three pieces in the British Museum and the V&A. Stein suggested that it may once have formed part of a votive patchwork.