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banner / 幡

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    The head of this banner is 18.1 cm in height and 23 cm in width, with a suspension loop of red 4-end complex gauze 4.5 cm in length. The face or infill is made of plain woven light brown silk, originally with a colour-painted pattern. The borders are of brown damask on plain weave with a pattern of small rosettes filled in six linked circles, which repeats 2.5 cm in the warp direction and 5.4 cm in the weft direction. The ends of the border are triangular and have tufts attached. The body panel which is 64 cm in length and 14.3 cm in width is of clamp-resist dyed plain weave in a light yellow colour with a pattern of six-petalled rosettes in six linked circles repeating 11.5 cm in the warp direction and 6.5 cm in the weft direction. The side streamers are of light brown plain weave, and the completely preserved one has a triangular end decorated with tufts. The three bottom streamers are made of the same textile used for the side streamers, each between 4.7 cm and 6.2 cm, joined at the top and the bottom, having been cut from a single piece of silk.
    The pattern of three linked but partly overlapping circles matches the records in Ying zao fa shi, written by Li Jie in the Song dynasty. A damask on plain weave with similar pattern has also been excavated in Xiaojingzi, Aluke’erqinqi, Inner Mongolia, indicating the popularity of this pattern during this period.

    Weave structures:
    1. Suspension loop
    Warp: silk, untwisted, single, red, 96 ends/cm; Weft: silk, untwisted, single, red, 17 lats/cm. Weave structure: 4-end complex gauze.
    2. Heading border
    Warp: silk, untwisted, single, reddish brown, 68 ends/cm; Weft: silk, untwisted, single, reddish brown, 41 lats/cm. Weave structure: 4-4 patterning weave for pattern on 1/1 plain weave for foundation.
    3. Infill
    Warp: silk, untwisted, single, light brown, 40 ends/cm; Weft: silk, untwisted, single, light brown, 22 lats/cm. Weave structure: 1/1 plain weave.
    4. Panel
    Warp: silk, untwisted, single, light yellow, 33 ends/cm; Weft: silk, untwisted, single, light yellow, 26 lats/cm. Weave structure: 1/1 plain weave.
    5. Side streamer
    Warp: silk, untwisted, single, light brown, 42 ends/cm; Weft: silk, untwisted, single, light brown, 22 lats/cm. Weave structure: 1/1 plain weave.
    6. Bottom streamer
    Warp: silk, untwisted, single, light brown, 42 ends/cm; Weft: silk, untwisted, single, light brown, 22 lats/cm. Weave structure: 1/1 plain weave.此幡幡首高約18.1cm,寬約23cm,上釘一長約4.5cm的紅色四經絞素羅制懸袢;幡面以淺棕色絹片製成,原先應有彩繪圖案;幡面兩側包縫一條棕色暗花綺作邊,以簇六球路紋爲骨架其中填入小型花卉紋樣,圖案經向循環爲2.5cm,緯向爲5.4cm,幡首斜邊兩端呈三角形,釘有絲線制流蘇;幡身長64.0cm,寬14.3cm,以淺黃色夾纈絹製成,圖案爲簇六球路中填以六瓣小花,圖案經向循環爲11.5cm,緯向爲6.5cm;兩側幡帶以淺棕色絹製成,保存較完整的一條一端呈三角形,縫有絲線制流蘇;幡足使用一塊與幡帶相同的面料製成,切成三條,每條幡足寬約4.7-6.2cm,但上下端仍連接在一起。

    1. 紅色素羅懸袢
    2. 紅棕色簇六球路紋綺幡頭斜邊
    3. 淺棕色絹幡面
    4. 淺黃地簇六球路朵花紋夾纈絹幡身
    5. 淺棕色絹幡帶
    6. 淺棕色絹幡足


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 9thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 135 centimetres
    • Width: 25.5 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    This banner is painted in silver which has generally turned dark but still retains a metallic sheen. It recalls a series of three banners, somewhat larger in size, in the Pelliot collection (Bannieres, Nos. 205, 212, 213). One of these shows a kalavinka playing a pipa; the other two each have a small bird carrying a large spray of leaves and flowers. The Pelliot banners are all preserved complete with headpieces, side streamers,damask tail streamers painted with floral motifs, and weighting boards. With the present banner the side streamers are missing, and unfortunately the weighting board, of layers of woolen material covered with gauze and lacquered, is no longer preserved with the painting; but the headpiece is complete, and the four tail streamers almost complete, though very fragile. They are on a complex alternating gauze and are painted with small floral motifs in an opaque pigment, probably including some silver as in the main part of the banner.
    It has been suggested by Waley that this was a marriage banner, but if we consider it together with the banners in the Pelliot collection, showing the musician kalavinka and song birds, it seems more probable that these are all intended to show the birds and musicians dwelling in the Western Paradise (see the note on kalavinka following the notes to Vol. 1, Pl. 9). A date in the ninth century, or earlier, has been proposed for the Pelliot banners and seems reasonable in view of the confident, relaxed curves of the brushwork, as well as the materials composing the banner, with the silk headpiece painted in bright colours, a piece of printed silk serving as a hanging loop, and two bamboo stiffeners wound first with raw white silk and then diagonally with coloured silk. The classic scroll at the bottom of the painted panel also suggests a late eighth century date, since the motifs within each wave of the scroll are not yet elaborated into a complete flower or leaf (personal communication from Jessica Rawson).此幡的圖案是用銀泥描繪,銀由於變色而發黑,但其金屬的光澤仍保留至今。在伯希和收集品中也見到三件尺寸稍大,與此有相同趣味的幡(參照伯希和圖錄《敦煌幡和繪畫》篇圖版205、212、213)。其中一件是演奏琵琶的迦陵頻伽,另外兩件上畫著銜巨大花枝的小鳥,三件都有幡頭、兩側的幡尾、繪有花紋的綾織幡腳、鎮板等,全都很完整。而本圖的幡,則缺兩側的幡尾,在紗包覆蓋的毛織布上塗漆而成的鎮板也已掉下。幡頭很完整,四根幡腳雖變得很脆弱,但保留也大致完整。幡腳用紋紗,用不透明的顔料繪著小的花紋。在那顔料裏,大概含有繪幡主體使用的銀泥。
    Waley曾認爲此幡是結婚儀式上用的,但綜合伯希和收集品中繪著迦陵頻伽和小鳥的幡畫考慮,則看作是欲表現棲息於西方淨土的靈鳥更爲合適(參看第一卷圖9對迦陵頻伽的註釋)。伯希和收集品中的幡,相當於9世紀或者8世紀末的作品,此幡也大概是同一時代的作品。那是因它具備的舒展而無停頓的曲線和幡的材質,幡頭色彩明亮,吊環使用的印染絹。還有包著兩根竹芯的白色生絹,及上面像斜格子一樣纏的染色絹等。再,表現在此圖主體下端的古風的唐草文樣,花和葉子的形狀還不夠精致,認爲它是8世紀末的更爲妥當(根據與Jessica Rawson女士的私人交流)。


  • Bibliography

    • Whitfield & Farrer 1990 cat.no.46 bibliographic details
    • Fraser 2000 p.202 bibliographic details
    • Stein 1921a p.944 bibliographic details
    • Whitfield 1983 pl.31, fig.45 bibliographic details
  • Conservation

    See treatments 

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.

  • Department


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • Ch.0024 (Stein no.)
Painted banner, complete headpiece and streamers, showing flying ducks with branches in their beaks.   Silver on silk.


Front Painted banner, complete headpiece and streamers, showing flying ducks with branches in their beaks. Silver on silk.

Image description



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