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.
[ Lisbet Holmes , London, until 1987; sold to MMA]
Cleveland Museum of Art. "When Silk Was Gold," October 20, 1997–January 4, 1998.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty," September 28, 2010–January 2, 2011.