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0154 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 154 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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oval or circular face-covers which have furnished us with many and specially interesting pieces of decorated fabrics, strictly to polychrome figured silks. In the great majority of stuffs of this kind used for face-covers the designs are, as we shall see farther on, purely ` Sasanian ' in type and execution, and this suffices to establish the fact that they were imported into Turfan from the West. The custom of using such figured silks of bright colours for face-covers must have been well established long before commerce in Chinese industrial products was facilitated by the Chinese annexation of Turfan in 640 ; for examples of it are found in practically all the groups of tombs that include burials proved to date from A. D. 6o8 onwards. This may help to explain why among the polychrome figured silks of face-covers those of purely ` Sasanian ' patterns and undoubtedly Western Asiatic origin greatly preponderate.6

The question whether the other polychrome figured silks, recovered from tattered remnants of garments, originated from the side of China or from Central Asia and Iran is more difficult to determine ; for the floral or geometric patterns most frequent among them do not always afford a sure criterion.' But there are some among them of which Chinese manufacture is made quite certain not merely by the design but by that peculiar ` warp-rib ' weave with which we have already had occasion to become familiar, in connexion with the ancient Chinese figured silks from the grave-pits of Lou-lan.8 It may be observed here that, with the exception of these few stuffs, all the figured silks, whether polychrome or damasks, appear to be worked in that twill weave the absence of which is so significant a feature among the early Chinese silk remains from Lou-lan.°

The method of monochrome decoration applied to the texture of silk fabrics is represented by a series of damasks and gauzes executed in a variety of designs.10 Their number is not large in proportion to that of polychrome figured fabrics, and among their patterns, mostly floral or geometric, there is none distinctly showing the influence of Western Asiatic textile art. On the other hand, there are at least two damasks which by the affinity of their designs to specimens recovered on the Tun-huang Limes suggest Chinese manufacture."

Silk   The only specimen of silk tapestry work is the finely woven shoe vi. 4. oI (Pl. XCIII), which
tapestry and by its design as well as by the Chinese characters inserted in bands is clearly proved to be of Chinese embroidery. workmanship. We have embroidery needlework represented by a number of pieces, all showing

floral designs, mostly very stylized and executed in chain-stitch.12 The absence of naturalistic

treatment and of the satin-stitch common among the embroideries of Chien-fo-tung may, perhaps,

be indications that this embroidery was local work.13 Finally mention may be made of patterned Printed and silks produced by printing or dyeing. The two printed silks i. 7. oI and x. I. 04 (Pl. LXXXII)

`resist'-   show well-executed floral patterns from blocks cut under the influence of Chinese art. The silks

dyed silks.

dyed by resist process, slightly more numerous, display floral patterns, in one case applied

Differences of weave in Chinese figured silks.

Damasks and decorated gauzes.

G Such figured silks of Sasanian' type from face-covers are i. I. oI, 3. a. or, 3. b. or, 5. 03, 6. of ; v. I. of ; vii.

I. or, o6 ; ix. 2. 01, 017, 022 (Pl. LXXVI-LXXX). Even in those pieces from face-covers, v. 2. or ; ix. 3. 02 (Pl.

  1. LXXX), for which weave technique and design indicate Chinese origin, the imitation of ` Sasanian ' designs is unmistakable.

7 Figured silks worked with floral or geometric patterns are 1. I. on, 5. a. 01. a-b, 8. 01-3 ; iii. 2. 03 ; ix. 2. 02 ;

X. I. or, 03, 05-8 ; for illustrations see Pl. XXXVI, LXXVIII,

  1.  LXXXIII-LXXXV, LXXXVII. For the striped silks i. I. 09 ; vii. I. 02 ; ix. 2. 025, which suggest non-Chinese manufacture, see below, ii. p. 679. With these striped silks may be grouped the gauze vi. 03 (Pl. LXXVII),

decorated in rainbow-coloured bands.

8 See ii. f. 022 ; vi. 02, 2. 04, Pl. XXXVI, LXXVIII, XCIII. In vi. r. 03, ix. 3. 03, the style of design and treatment is also undoubtedly Chinese, but the distinctive ` warp-rib ' weave is absent ; see PI. LXXVIII, LXXX.

s Cf. above, i. p. 234.

10 For damasks, see i. f. ofo, 3. b. 02, 5. a. or. c, 7. 03, 05-6 ; vi. of ; viii. r. or ; ix. 2. 08-9, 014 ; X. I. 05 : for gauzes, i. 7. 04 ; iii. 2. 01-2 ; vi. 3. 09 ; ix. 2. 016 ; X. I. 02. Illustrations are seen in Pl. XXXVI, XLV, LXXIX, LXXXIV, LXXXV.

11 See i. 5. a. of. e ; ix. 2. 09, Pl. LXXXIV.

12 See vi. OI, I. 04, 06, 09 ; 3. 07.

13 Cf. Serindia, ii. pp. 901, 904 sq.