Silks for Thrones and Altars: Chinese Costumes and Textiles from the Liao through the Qing Dynasty

Paris: Myrna Myers, 2003. color frontis, 80 color plates, appendixes, technical analysis, bibliography, paper. Item #68
ISBN: 2951883617

The Chinese textiles presented here are arranged and discussed in 3 groups. The first group consists of clothing and furnishing fabrics made for and used by the ruling elite of China. Regardless of their dates or the ethnic origins of various dynastic rulers, these trappings of nobility served the political and social goals of those in power. Many of the ideas embodied in these pieces can be traced to the very origins of Chinese civilization. However, as this study reveals, the manner of expressing these traditional notions changed over time.

The second group contains Chinese silks found beyond the borders of the empire, specifically in Tibet, Japan and Western Europe. The presence of Chinese luxury textiles in a foreign context, whether the result of commerce or diplomacy, affected local ideas of status and prestige. While some exported Chinese fabrics were manufactured to meet foreign tastes, incorporating decidely non-Chinese notions of design and imagery, others were drawn from reserves of prestige court textiles and sent as tokens of the emperor's largesse.

The last group presents textiles made for Daoist and Buddhist liturgical use. Within the Buddhist traditions of Tibet and Japan, secular textiles found new uses without losing the prestige with which they had originally been imbued.

Price: $60.00