Banner legs with weighting board
Tang dynasty, 9th century
Plain weave in silk and painted wood
Width 20 cm x height 32 cm
Museum no. LOAN:STEIN.432 (Ch.0070.n)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On loan from Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India
Stein retrieved seventeen wooden weighting boards for banners from Cave 17. Such boards were fastened to the bottom of banners to hold them in place and to prevent the silk legs from becoming tangled. One of these boards, with a painted red and blue flower design, still has three of its four legs attached. The ends of the three legs are turned over a bamboo slip and glued into a narrow groove along the upper edge of the board. The legs are of plain woven greenish blue silk with red stitching along the edges.
The wooden boards were heavy compared to the thin silk of the banners, and gravity would have pulled on them further. It is therefore not surprising that few banners have survived complete with weighting boards.