Large embroidery

Large embroidery

Large embroidery
China
Tang dynasty, 800 AD
Plain and gauze weave in silk, satin stitch embroidery
Width 59 cm x height 97 cm
Museum no. LOAN:STEIN.343 (Ch.0075)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On loan from Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India

This fragmentary textile of embroidered gauze and plain woven silk must once have been quite astonishing in its beauty, and impressive in its size.
A terracotta red silk patterned gauze, patterned in lozenge diaper, is embroidered with leaves, flowers and clouds in red, pink, blue, green and purple silk. It is in a naturalistic style, typical of the late Tang period.

The gauze has more or less completely disintegrated to expose its plain woven terracotta red silk backing. The central embroidered piece is set in a broad plain woven silk border of pale green colour, now discoloured. The embroidery is similar to the silk embroidery of the large patchwork (MAS.856), now in the British Museum.