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Original Articles Home > Acta Via Serica > Archives > Original Articles
Title A Tent For The Afterlife? Remarks on a Qinghai-Sichuanese Panel
Author Mariachiara Gasparini
Volume Vol. 6 No. 2
Pages pp. 61~90 (all 30 pages)
Publication Date December, 2021
Keyword Beaded roundel, Tent, Nomads, Southern Silk Road, Transhimalyas, Weft-faced weaving, Qinghai
Abstract Recent excavations in Qinghai Province, China, have disclosed textiles and artworks from Tuyuhun-Tubo (Tibetan) tombs, dated to the 7th-9th centuries, that suggest artistic and cultural exchanges along an external southern branch of the main Silk Road, between Gansu and Sichuan Provinces, across the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau toward the Himalayas. Many similar textiles, possibly from this area, have appeared lately on the art market and ended in private collections. Although these textiles, dated to the early Tibetan period, follow a popular prototype established in Central Asia in the 6th century, the technical features, colors, and other indigenous elements suggest that they were woven in workshops different from those established between Sogdiana and Gansu. The exhibition “Cultural Exchange Along the Silk Road – Masterpieces of the Tubo Period,” organized by the Dunhuang Research Academy and the Pritzker Collaborative Art between July and October 2019 in Dunhuang, Gansu, was a groundbreaking event that gathered scholarly attention on early Tibetan material culture, but a relevant publication is still forthcoming. In my previous work, I briefly discussed a group of silk textiles, possibly from Qinghai or Sichuan, that I analyzed in 2014 in the China National Silk Museum in Hangzhou, Zhejiang.1 In light of the recent material excavated, published online, or displayed in Dunhuang, in this article, I reevaluate the data previously collected, and discuss in detail the technical and iconographic features of one of the fragments held in Hangzhou. Eventually, the piece was recognized as the ending part of a large panel, which is now in the Abegg Stiftung in Riggisberg, Switzerland