Silk Robe with Floral Medallion

Tang dynasty. 8th-9th centuries

L138cm, W248cm


This is a silk robe with overlapping collar and front panels opening to the left, fitting sleeves and a slit up from the hem in the back. Using a patterned compound twill (samite) with brown floral motifs for ground, the dominant motif is a large floral medallion of 44cm in diameter with a warp repeat of 55cm. within the large medallion motif are three layers of different elements, a double-petalled frontal flower in the center, eight whirling cloud elements in the middle, and eight blooming flowers that form the outside layer of the medallion. This gorgeous pattern best exemplifies the typical floral medallion patterns at the height of the Tang dynasty.

There is a floral section on both sleeves with a light tone of brown, where the structure is the same but the motif is slightly different from the rest of the ground patterns in dark tone. Placed in the middle of this light brown section is again a large three-layered medallion of 44cm in diameter with a double petalled frontal flower in the center. Flowers in profile with stems and foliage are nested in the middle layer and eight budding flowers form the outside layer of the medallion. There are some birds beneath the flowers, making these sections into medallion motifs into a scene.

The cuffs are decorated with a band of patterned cloth of the same material, a 1:3 weft-faced compound twill in four colors, yellows for ground and white, green and brown for figure. The motif is also a highly decorative floral medallion, with an estimated diameter of 16cm.

Country profile

Capital: Beijing
Region: Asia and the Pacific

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