Tang dynasty, 600-800 AD
Plain, gauze and damask weave in silk
Width 179 cm x height 51.3 cm
Museum no. LOAN:STEIN.622 (Ch.00280)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On loan from Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India
Few valances have survived from such an early period. Compared with a valance (MAS.855) now in the British Museum, this is more fragmented, with only six pieces remaining: parts of the main body and five streamers. The upper part of the main body consists of a wide border of jin silk with a floral pattern on a blue ground and backed with plain weave in purple silk. A large piece of brown plain weave is stitched to the lower end of the border, and so also six triangular textiles. A knotted gauze string and a silk streamer made up of different coloured triangular tabs further decorate the valance. The other five streamers have been detached from the valance and are made of various weaves in different colours.
Similar examples of different use can be seen in the murals at the Mogao Grottoes. It may have been an altar valance or it may have hung in front of a Buddha statue. Or it may have been used as the side flaps of a canopy.