Painted silk headpiece from a banner


British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

This square of silk would have been folded diagonally to form two triangular headpieces which would have been attached to the top of a banner. The almost identical images of the Buddha can then be seen on either side. When found, the headpiece had a purple silk border which had faded into brown. Judging from the diagonal, this would have been attached to a banner about seventy centimetres wide, larger than any of the banners that survive in the Stein Collection in the British Museum.The silk used for making this headpiece is figured with a phoenix motif. The palette used for colouring the Buddha images is limited and appears to have been sparingly applied. However, a yellow pigment used beneath the flesh tones of the face and torso of each Buddha was strong enough to have seeped through the back.

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  • Title: Painted silk headpiece from a banner
  • Date Created: 900/999
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 54.00cm; Width: 54.00cm; Height: 58.50cm (Mounted on padded board); Width: 58.50cm (Mounted on padded board); Thickness: 2.00cm (Mounted on padded board)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: twill damask; painted
  • Subject: buddha; lotus
  • Registration number: MAS.888
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Qian Fo Dong. Excavated/Findspot
  • Period/culture: Five Dynasties
  • Material: silk
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Collected by Stein, Marc Aurel