Damask with Cloud Palmettes and Chinese Characters
Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
Silk satin damask
Overall: 11 x 8 1/2 in. (27.9 x 21.6 cm) Mount: 15 x 12 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. (38.1 x 31.7 x 3.8 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1946
Not on view
Trade or diplomacy must have played a role in the life of textiles such as this example (now darkened but originally blue), which, according to records, was found in Egypt. The palmette pattern originated in Central Asia and the eastern Iranian world. Here, it also features a Chinese cloud border and flawlessly rendered versions of the Chinese character for longevity (shou) in the center of and atop each one. Longevity damasks like this piece must have been present in other regions, too, as they probably inspired the designs of some of the rare surviving late thirteenth- to early fourteenth-century carpets of Konya, Turkey.
Inscription: woven, shou
Necropolis of Al A'zâm (Egypt)
[ Adolph Loewi , Los Angeles, CA, until 1946; sold to MMA]
Cleveland Museum of Art. "Chinese Art Under the Mongols," October 1, 1968–November 4, 1968.
New York. Asia House Gallery. "Chinese Art Under the Mongols," January 9, 1969–February 2, 1969.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty," September 28, 2010–January 2, 2011.
Artist: Date: mid-14th century Accession Number: 26.271.1a, b Date: mid-14th centuryMedium: Porcelain painted with cobalt blue under a transparent glaze (Jingdezhen ware)
Accession: 26.271.1a, bOn view in:Gallery 204