Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Boys and Birds in Pomegranates

10th century
Painted silk gauze
19 7/8 x 5 5/16 in. (50.5 x 13.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Eileen W. Bamberger Bequest, in memory of her husband, Max Bamberger, 1995
Accession Number:
Not on view
This strip of silk features two clusters of pomegranates and leaves. The fruits at the top are filled with birds and flowers, those at the bottom with boys and flowers. The boys may refer to offspring: the Chinese character for "seed" is the same as that for "son," and pomegranates contain many seeds.

French archaeologists found similar strips at the Buddhist site of Dunhuang in the early twentieth century. There, however, the birds and boy stand on lotuses. Here, gold was used in the bracelets and neck ornaments, visible at the wrist of the boy at right and the neck of the
boy at top.
Cleveland Museum of Art. "When Silk Was Gold," October 20, 1997–January 4, 1998.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Textiles," May 16, 2008–August 3, 2008.

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