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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Chinese
Title Type: Object name
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1279
Creation End Date: 1368
Creation Date: Yuan dynasty (1279-1368)
Object Type: Textiles
Classification Term: Textiles-Tapestries
Materials and Techniques: Silk
Dimensions: 33 x 33 in. (83.8 x 83.8 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1989.140
Credit Line: Purchase, Fletcher Fund and Joseph E. Hotung and Michael and Danielle Rosenberg Gifts, 1989
Silk tapestry ('kesi' in Chinese) was a highly developed art form in Central and Eastern Asia during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, a period when major Tibetan monasteries, such as that of the Sakya sect, enjoyed the patronage of Mongol emperors in China. Many of the finest 'kesi' produced at this time were imperial gifts for the monks or were commissioned by the monasteries. There were a number of silk-weaving centers in the eastern Mongol empire capable of this high-quality work. This Tibetan cosmological diagram, woven in extremely fine polychrome silks, features Mount Meru, the axis of the cosmos, in the center, surrounded by seven square mountain ranges interspersed with seven oceans. Beyond the mountains are four great continents, flanked by lesser continents, represented by Chinese-style landscapes and framed by different shapes according to their location. The four cardinal directions are indicated by their color attributes. The northern quadrant, originally a golden yellow, is now faded almost to white. The cosmic world is illuminated by the sun and the moon, represented in Chinese iconography by the three-legged crow in the sun and the hare under a cassia tree in the moon. In the corners, outside the diagram, are vases, from which issue floral scrolls and the eight precious objects of Buddhism.
AMICA ID: MMA_.1989.140
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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