Textile with Coiled Dragons

Period: Jin dynasty (1115–1234)

Culture: China

Medium: Plain-weave silk brocaded with metallic thread

Dimensions: 29 1/8 x 13 in. (74 x 33 cm)

Classification: Textiles-Woven

Credit Line: Gift of Lisbet Holmes, 1989

Accession Number: 1989.205


This textile represents the tradition of northern China's Jin dynasty, which was known for textiles brocaded in gold with offset asymmetrical motifs on a solid-colored background. The motif here is a coiled dragon with a flaming jewel. The coiled dragon, as a pattern for princes' robes, dates from the Tang dynasty and was also used for garments in the Song and Xixia dynasties. This example is an early instance of a dragon with five claws. It is woven in a variant of the brocading technique first seen in a Jin-dynasty princely tomb of 1162.