Height: 2410.000 mm
Width: 1595.000 mm
Asia OA Ch. 00260
Shakyamuni preaching on the Vulture Peak, silk embroidery on hemp cloth
From Cave 17, Mogao, near Dunhuang, Gansu
Tang dynasty, 8th century AD
This is one of the largest known examples of
Chinese embroidery. Its layout compares closely with paradise
paintings and the wall murals at Mogao.
The panel was made from three widths of hemp cloth entirely covered with thin closely-woven silk. The outline of the design was first drawn in ink onto the silk. Its main contours were worked with split stitching of brown or dark blue silk. The areas enclosed by the outlines were then filled in using closely packed unplied floss silk. The embroidery is generally well preserved. However, when it was folded for storage in the cave, the two disciples fell along the lines of folding, which explains the heavy damage to them.
M. Aurel Stein, Serindia: detailed report of e, 5 vols. (Oxford, 1921)
J. Rawson (ed.), The British Museum book of Chi (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)
W. Zwalf (ed.), Buddhism: art and faith (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)
R. Whitfield, Art of Central Asia: The Stein, vol. 3 (Tokyo, Kodansha International Ltd., 1982-85)
R. Whitfield and A. Farrer, Caves of the thousand Buddhas: (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)