Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

宋 緙絲花鳥紋包首
Scroll Cover with Birds and Flowers

Song dynasty (960–1279)
12th century
Silk and metallic thread tapestry (kesi)
Overall: 8 11/16 x 13 3/8 in. (22 x 34 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Bequest of Dorothy Graham Bennett, 1966
Accession Number:
Not on view
Some of the earliest preserved examples of Chinese tapestry survived as covers for paintings. This piece came into the Museum’s collection as the cover for the handscroll Dragon Boat Regatta on Jinming Lake after Wang Zhenpeng (ca. 1280–1329). Using such a precious textile in this way both highlighted the importance of the painting and enhanced viewing, as opening the cover and unrolling the enclosed painting were part of the total experience. The type of weft used to make this piece along with the rendering of the motif of birds in flowers show Central Asian influence. However, the balance and precision of the design are typically Chinese, as is the magic fungus held in the birds’ beaks. The cuteness and intentional awkwardness (zhuo) of the scene are important aesthetic values in traditional Chinese art.
Related Objects

Cosmological Mandala with Mount Meru

Date: 14th century Medium: Silk tapestry (kesi) Accession: 1989.140 On view in:Not on view

Vajrabhairava Mandala

Date: ca. 1330–32 Medium: Silk tapestry (kesi) Accession: 1992.54 On view in:Gallery 212

Old Trees, Level Distance

Artist: Guo Xi (Chinese, ca. 1000–ca. 1090) Date: ca. 1080 Medium: Handscroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 1981.276 On view in:Gallery 210

Finches and bamboo

Artist: Emperor Huizong (Chinese, 1082–1135; r. 1100–25) Date: early 12th century Medium: Handscroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 1981.278 On view in:Gallery 210

Summer Mountains

Artist: Attributed to Qu Ding (Chinese, active ca. 1023–ca. 1056) Date: ca. 1050 Medium: Handscroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 1973.120.1 On view in:Gallery 210