Patterns on the Embroidered Textiles Unearthed from the Silk Road I: Animal Pattern

  •  Yanghua Kuang    
  •  Rongrong Cui    


Based on the archaeological evidences from the Silk Road, this paper reviews animal pattern on the embroidered textiles of the Han and Tang dynasties (2ndC BC- 9thC AD). The evidences show that animal pattern is widely found on the embroidered textiles unearthed from the graveyards or ancient sites along the Silk Road and particularly rich in variety. Generally, animals on the embroideries from the Silk Road can be categorized into animals of the real world and animals of the imaginary world. The first group consists of a range of real animals, including birds and butterflies which are usually flying in the sky or among the flowers, herbivorous animals like horses, antelopes, deer (especially reindeers) and yaks and carnivorous animals like tigers which are regular seen on the grasslands and aquatic animals like fish and turtles. The second group includes imaginary animals which play an important role in Chinese mythology like phoenixes, dragons and suanni etc. and significant legendary creature in Central Asian mythology like griffins. Besides, historical documents provide more information about animal pattern adopted by embroidered textiles than we have seen on archaeological evidences.

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