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Buddha Head (Dunhuang, China)

Silk embroidery of Buddha head, from Dunhuang, China, c. 8th century. Silk embroidery of Buddha head, from Dunhuang, China, c. 8th century. Copyright Victoria and Albert Museum, London, acc. no. LOAN:Stein.559.

There is a small, but interesting fragment of embroidered silk recovered from Dunhuang in western China, and now housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (acc. no. LOAN: Stein.559). It was discovered by the Hungarian/British explorer Sir Aurel Stein (1862-1943) in the early twentieth century (1907), and derives from what is called Cave 17 of the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang ('Caves of the Thousand Buddhas').

The Buddha head itself is embroidered in a buff colour, while the ushnisha (protuberance on the head), and his eyes and eyebrows are in dark blue, while the nose and outlines are in red. Use is made of the split stitch, although at first glance it looks like a chain stitch.

See also the embroidery with floral motifs from Dunhuang.

V&A online catalogue.

WV

Last modified on Friday, 09 December 2016 18:46