Silk fragments with heart design

Silk fragments with heart design

Silk fragments with heart design(Textiles - Room 98, Case 3)
Central Asia or China
Tang dynasty, late 700 - early 800 AD
Samite silk
Width 24 cm x length 9 cm
Width 9.8 cm x length 4.2 cm
Museum no. LOAN:STEIN.338:1 (Ch.00178)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On loan from Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India

Four pieces of this samite have survived, of which one is now in the British Museum. These silk fragments show a heart-shaped petal design in red on a yellow ground. Each heart is decorated with four white dots and the top of the hearts alternates in bright blue, pink and dark blue in each row. The pattern is arranged in staggered rows, with a repeat of 4.6 cm in the warp direction and 3.3 cm in the weft direction.

A similar pattern can be seen on the costumes depicted in the mural at Balalitepe in Tocharistan. Roundels with borders consisting of hearts are common in Sogdian samite.