Carpet fragment (front and rear view)
150 BC-60 AD
Carpet weave in wool
Length 30.7 cm x width 13.4 cm
Museum no. LOAN:STEIN.647 (L.C.ii.09.a)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On loan from Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India
This colourful and well-preserved fragment of woollen pile carpet has been radiocarbon dated to 150 BC-60 AD, to the beginning of Han Chinese occupation of Loulan. The warp is made of goat hair and hairy medium fleece type wool mix while the rows of knots in brown, pink, red, pale green and green, yellow, pale blue and blue wool are of hairy medium fleece type. The fragment shows a section across several bands of design, including a narrow border of single hook motif.
It was found in one of the grave pits outside the town of Loulan, and from evidence of other complete burials in neighbouring oasis towns; it is possible that the carpet was used as a shroud. From these finds, it appears that the carpets were already used and worn when they were put into the grave.