Silk fragments

Silk fragments

Silk fragments
China
200-800 AD
Plain weave in silk, embroidery
Length 11.8 cm x width 7.8 cm (largest fragment)
Museum no. LOAN:STEIN.515 (Ast.vi.I.06)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On loan from Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India

These are four fragments of monochrome plain woven silk, of which two are blue and one buff coloured. The fourth and largest fragment is dark red embroidered with floral design in pale blue, blue, green, cream and brown. Originally the embroidered red fabric was lined with a paler red silk, and there are fragments of this remaining. It is unclear what these textiles would have been used for, although they are likely to have been part of the burial furnishings or the shroud. The burials at Astana were richly attired, not only with textiles but food offerings, articles of personal use, vessels and sometimes miniature models substituting the real thing.