Banner head

Banner head

Banner head
China
Late Tang to Five Dynasties, 800-900 AD
Plain and samite weave in silk
Width 82.5 cm x height 44 cm
Museum no. LOAN:STEIN.299 (Ch.0076)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On loan from Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India

This triangular silk textile would once have formed the top part of a Buddhist ritual banner. The border is of samite showing orange floral roundels on a blue ground. The infill is of plain woven red silk with a glazed appearance and shows the painted outline in pale yellow of a seated Buddha figure with eyes in black. The textile has been analysed with Raman microscopy in an attempt to identify any pigments and dyes present. It revealed that the pale yellow lines were painted with the arsenic-containing pigment, orpiment, which is fairly common in Chinese paint.