Sutra wrapper

Sutra wrapper

Sutra wrapper
China
High to late Tang dynasty, late 600-800 AD
Jin silk with plain weave and damask on plain weave in silk
Width 28.5 cm x height 50 cm (body)
Width 33.5 cm x height 30.5 cm (tie)
Museum no. LOAN:STEIN.337 (Ch.liv.005)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On loan from Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India

These two pieces, the main body and tie, were separated at some time in the past. Originally, the tie would have been attached to the top of the body across one edge, with the long end free for wrapping around the scroll before being tied. The borders on the short ends of the body panel are now missing. Red silk damask, on plain weave, with lattice-work design makes up the main body of the wrapper. The body panel has been patched with two pieces of plain woven dark red silk. The borders are jin silk with a rosette medallion pattern in green, cream and orange on a blue ground.

The term jin is used to denote a textile woven with polychrome silks, as recorded in the documents dating to the Tang dynasty. It has a compound weave structure and thus has a rich pattern and is also quite a heavy fabric.