Lampas with Phoenix among Peony Flowers

Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368A.D.)

L128cm; W38cm

        This motif, phoenix among peony flowers, finally stood out during the Song and Yuan period from a wide variety of floral patterns with birds and animals that had been popular throughout the East and West. The reason this combination was able to outshine or replace most others may be attributed to the popular belief that the phoenix is queen to all birds and the peony the queen of all flowers.Patterned in gold threads on a purple ground, this textile with phoenix and peony motif continued to be a popular item during the Yuan, for the fact that fragments of the same textile have been found in a number of places throughout the nation.

         Atypical lampas structure, this piece is constructed with two groups of warps,one in purple for ground and the other a light yellow as a supplementary warp.It also has two sets of wefts where the ground weft is again purple and the figuring weft is a gold foil wrapped thread. This construction is typical ofthe famed Yuan textile known as nasji, a technique introduced by Persian weavers. Most motifs are geometric patterns or animals. The phoenix and peony motif on this nasji textile also indicates the popularity of bird and flower motifs in representational style at the time. (XZ)

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