Tapestry with Dragons and Flowers

Date: 11th–12th century

Culture: Eastern Central Asia

Medium: Silk tapestry

Dimensions: 21 x 13 in. (53.3 x 33 cm)

Classification: Textiles-Tapestries

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1987

Accession Number: 1987.275


The decorative style of this silk tapestry is typical of Central Asia, where motifs enjoyed great longevity and creative recombination. The form of the dragon, with its long snout and its tail hooked behind its leg, represents a Tang-dynasty convention that survived in Central Asia until at least the Yuan dynasty, founded in 1271 by the Mongol conqueror Khubilai Khan. Placing a dragon on flowers is most likely a Central Asian invention. The brilliant colors and the vitality of the animals are also characteristic features of tapestries of the region, which were probably produced by Uighurs, known for their splendid tapestry-woven clothing.