Silk fragments with Chinese characters
Warp-faced compound plain weave in silk
Length 21cm x width 6.8 cm (largest fragment)
Museum no. LOAN:STEIN.630 (L.C.031.a)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On loan from Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India
The site called L.C. by Stein is an elevated area of land or a mesa, located 6.9 km to the northeast of Loulan city and was most likely the burial grounds for the inhabitants. Several of the famous Han period silks were discovered in the tombs. The polychrome warp-faced compound plain weave comprises designs in brilliant colours of mountain-shaped clouds, birds, dragons and other menacing looking creatures and woven Chinese characters integrated with the other motifs. They are probably the most important group of Han silks with a style so different from any other contemporary silk groups. The woven characters are dedicatory or considered lucky and consist generally of about four to twelve characters . This piece shown here is comparable to a recent find, now in the Xinjiang Institute of Archaeology, showing birds and beasts and with the characters of eternal prosperity.