Silk embroidery

Silk embroidery

Silk embroidery
Central Asia
Late Tang to Five dynasties, 800-900 AD
Silk gauze and plain-woven silk, embroidered
Length 102 cm x Width 28 cm
Museum no. LOAN:STEIN.525 (Ch.00281)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On loan from Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India

Stein suggested that this length of embroidered blue silk gauze once formed part of a silk hanging, perhaps similar to the embroidery LOAN:STEIN.343. Even the stitches, long and short stitch, are the same. However, after studying another piece in the National Museum of India, Japanese scholar Yamanobe Tomoyuki proposed that these pieces may have been for a garment.

The piece is embroidered in an all-over pattern of birds, butterflies and flowers on a small scale in a naturalistic Chinese style. The embroidery in different coloured silk threads is worked through both the gauze and the plain woven blue silk backing. There are traces of where the seams were joined along both long edges and also remnants of a plain woven apricot-coloured silk.