Wool tapestry fragment

Wool tapestry fragment

Wool tapestry (Textiles - Room 98, Case 3)
Central Asia
200-400 AD
Tapestry weave in wool
Length 20.1cm x width 14.2 cm
Museum no. LOAN:STEIN.597 (L.A.VI.ii.0045.a)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On loan from Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India

This piece of tapestry woven wool show bands in red, pale pink, white, pale blue, blue and broader bands of red. These latter bands have additional decorations in contrasting colours, which are worked in dovetail tapestry technique. This woven wool fragment reminded Stein of Indian durries, traditional cotton tapestry-woven floor coverings. It is possible that the textile was originally used as a floor or bed covering. It was found in one of the many refuse heaps within the walled garrison city of Loulan. Tapestry weave is a technique that does not yet seem to be utilised in China. The first true silk tapestry is found in Astana tombs, dated around 687 AD.