Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Asian Animals

I'm not going to tell you precisely what these two textiles are: my student's are going to be researching them, and I don't want to make it too easy for them.



These two textiles are seperated in time by at least fifty years, and in geography by the breadth of the entire continent of Eurasia, but they share a common motif which was carried from the regions of Egypt, Mesopotamia and Central Asia all the way to China, and which has endured in the textiles of both these regions for over a millenium.

The motif of an animal in a roundel or square frame was common in Mesopotamia and Central Asia, and travelled to China along the Silk Road. Once in China the framed animal became a central motif in Chinese textiles. Common animals to see in this format included dragons, stylized lions and dogs, and later, birds (such as seen on the second textile). The animals often took on a twisted writhing appearance, and sometimes wrapped around themselves to form their own roundels or square frames.

The animal motif, particularly the lion, remained a potent symbol in the areas of Egypt and Mesopotamia, enough so that it was included on this 20th century "Souvenir of Egypt", just as a kiwi or sheep is often included on souvenirs of New Zealand.

No comments:

Post a Comment