Jin-silk with Dancers
Northern dynasties, 4-6th centuries
L: 13cm, W: 11cm
This is a 1:2 warp-faced compound tabby with dark brown warp ends for ground and light yellow, brown and light green threads for figure. Patterning is also achieved by alternating light green with brown in different areas. Both groups of weft threads are in dark brown. Repeat of figure is 1.4cm in the warp direction and from selvage to selvage in the weft direction.
Among the patterns in this textile are two rows of honeysuckles, a motif frequently found in decorative designs of the Northern dynasties. The ten dancers, seen here hand in hand, is what makes this piece most interesting because such patterns are very rare among textiles of the same period, though a close match to the dancers have been found on painted potteries from Qinghai, Province. The scene depicted in this textile might serve as a record of shamanistic activities in the region.