AN IMPRESSIVE SASANIAN OR SOGDIAN SILK LAMPAS PANEL
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AN IMPRESSIVE SASANIAN OR SOGDIAN SILK LAMPAS PANEL

IRAN OR CENTRAL ASIA, CIRCA 8TH CENTURY

Details
AN IMPRESSIVE SASANIAN OR SOGDIAN SILK LAMPAS PANEL
IRAN OR CENTRAL ASIA, CIRCA 8TH CENTURY
Woven in red, blue, green and gold silk with two large roundels with pearl borders containing large winged horses with slightly raised forelegs, each with outspread wings with quatrefoil and heart-shaped designs, gold studded blue sash around neck and long striped mane, tail plaited with gold beads, all on gold ground, rosettes inside gold roundels above and below main roundels, with large flowering plants between large roundels on red ground, very vibrant and strong colours
18¾ x 34¾in. (47.6 x 88.3cm.)
Provenance
Asian private collection since early 1990s.
Special notice
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Andrew Butler-Wheelhouse
Andrew Butler-Wheelhouse

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Lot Essay

The pearl bordered medallion that surrounds each of the winged horses on this textile is a motif commonly found on Sasanian textiles, where it is associated with cosmology and royal power (L'étrange et le merveilleux en terre d'Islam, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 2001, p.118). However the motif is also found on Sogdian textiles, most of which are decorated with stylized animals similar to the winged horse found here, and surrounded by pearl borders. Dating from the 7th to the 8th century, these textiles were found all along the Silk road along which the Sogdians traded (Zhao Feng, 'Silk Roundels from the Sui to the Tang', Hali, issue 92, May 1997, pp.80-85). A remarkably preserved child's robe, which shares with ours the foliate cross motifs in the interstices between the roundels is in the Cleveland Museum of Art (accession no. 1996.2.1). That is catalogued as Central Asia, 8th century (http://www.clevelandart.org/collections/collection0online.aspx).

A textile with similar medallions surrounding paired winged horses drinking from a stylized stream, is in the Khalili collection (J.M.Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Treasures from the Nasser D. Khalili Collection, exhibition catalogue, Abu Dhabi, 2007, no.54, p.61). In the discussion on that fragment, Rogers writes that medallion silks first appeared in Sasanian art on the robe of Khusraw (Chosroes) II 'Parviz' (r.590-628).

Three fragments from a closer related textile, with a single winged horse within a pearl border, are in the Musée Guimet and the Musée des Tissus, Lyon (Arthur Upham Pope (ed.), A Survey of Persian Art, London, 1938, Vol. IV, pl. 202; Jean-Michel Tuchscherer, Étoffes Merveilleuses du Musée Historique des Tissus, Lyon, 1976, cat.29).
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this textile, and a feature that sets it aside from most of the known comparables, is its sheer size. Each roundel is about 35cm. in diameter, creating a very strong effect.
For a brief discussion on the horse motif, please see the following lot.

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