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0159 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 159 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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ing wide and narrow arches, while above and below stems connected with the arches carry tiers of highly stylized leaves, flowers and fruits. The arcading here used as a kind of framework clearly links this pattern with the designs in a number of silk fragments recovered from the Han Limes and Lou-lan and also in an early piece from the hoard of the ` Thousand Buddhas '.35 Finally we have another purely Chinese design in the silk tapestry of the shoe vi. 4. 01 (Pl. XCIII). It shows bands with a succession of geese placed in panels the colours of which counterchange with those of the birds. Chinese characters woven into bands at the toe indicate the Chinese origin of the textile and its design.

Among the mass of other designs which belong to the great class above indicated we may conveniently distinguish two main types, though the dividing line between individual specimens is often difficult to draw. One type may be recognized as comprising floral motifs, sometimes combined with animal figures, mostly birds. To the other type belong purely geometric designs, made up in their simplest forms of variations of the lozenge diaper, chevrons, ` repeating spots ', and the like. We had occasion similarly to distinguish these two types in the Chien-fo-tung textiles. But it deserves to be noted that the strong tendency towards naturalistic treatment observed in most of the floral designs from Chien-fo-tung is absent in the designs of almost all the Astâna fabrics, whatever their method of decoration. Is it possible to recognize in this a kind of negative evidence that the marked trend towârds naturalistic freedom characteristic of Chinese art of the Tang and later periods had not yet fully set in during the seventh century ?

It is natural that the designs seen in the embroidery work, usually executed on silk gauzes, should be of the floral type, considering the greater freedom from technical limitations enjoyed by the embroiderer's needle. But the floral motifs found in vi. oI ; 1. o6, 09 (Pl. XLV), are very conventionalized, and even in the bewildering medley of flowers, leaves, stars, &c., that fills the small embroidered panels of vi. 3. 07 (Pl. LXXVIII), the individual shapes are very stylized. Of course, all these embroideries may be local Turfan work and not executed by Chinese hands.

Among the polychrome figured silks the floral designs most frequent show rows of rosettes, more or less stylized, sometimes combined with leaves or coloured borders, and bearing in general a strong resemblance to pieces found among the Chien-fo-tung textiles.36 In others the rosettes are developed into ` spots ' of elaborate patterns closely akin to those found in silks of undoubtedly Chinese origin from Nara and Chien-fo-tung.37 Simple ` geometric ' patterns with lozenges and rectangles (i. 5. a. 01. a, b, 02 ; ix. 2. 02 ; X. I. 01 ; Pl. LXXVIII, LXXXIII, LXXXIV) are less frequent in polychrome stuffs than in damasks. With such patterns may be mentioned also a small series of striped silks, i. 1. 09 ; vii. I. 02 ; ix. 2. 025 (Pl. LXXVII), not unlike the modern silks from Marghilan and other places in Ferghana.

Monochrome figured silks or damasks are not numerous at Astana, and just as at Chien-fo-tung they show mostly `geometric' designs.38 Of these, ix. 2. 09 closely resembles a damask found at the Tang shrine of T. )(Iv on the Tun-huang Limes.3s Among the damasks of the floral type, i. I. 010 (Pl. LXXXIV) is worked in an elaborate ` spot ' pattern like the polychrome examples just mentioned. In i. 7. 03, 05 (Pl. LXXIX, LXXXIV) floral motifs conventionally treated are combined with pairs of flying birds. Into the interesting scheme of i. 5. a. 01. c (Pl. LXXXIV)

Chinese designs of floral or geometric type.

Floral designs in embroidery.

Polychrome figured silks with floral or geometric patterns.

Patterns of damasks and gauzes.

35 See Serindia, iv. Pl. LV (T. xv. a. 002. a, iii. 0010. a); ii. pp. 963 sq. (Ch. ooi i8) ; above, i. p. 241 (L.C. 031. b ; Pl. XXXV, XLII ; ii. 05. a).

36 See i. 8. 01-3 ; iii. 2. 03 ; X. I. o6-8 in Pl. LXXVIII, LXXIX, LXXXIII, LXXXVII ; cf. Serindia, iv. Pl. CVII, CVIII, CXVI.

3? Compare i. I, on, 7. o6 ; x. 1. 03, 05, in Pl. xxxvi,

LXXVIII, LXXXIII, LXXXV, with v. Falke, Seidenweberei, i. Fig. no ; Shôsôin Catalogue, ii. PI. 89-91,109-10 ; Serindia, iv. Pl. CVI (Ch. liv. 005), CXI (Ch. 00171, 00181), CVIII (Ch. lv. 0028. z, zs) CXVI. A.

38 See i. 1. 02. a ; vi. oi ; viii. 1. ox ; ix. 2. 08-9, in Pl. XLIII, XLV, LXXXV ; also i. 3, b. 02.

39 See Serindia, iv. Pl. CXVII, T. xiv. v. ooi1, a.

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