Temple Hanging (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

early 20th century
Dyed and painted silk appliqué
Framed: 96 1/2 × 69 1/2 × 3 in. (245.11 × 176.53 × 7.62 cm)
Overall: 93 1/2 × 67 1/8 in. (237.49 × 170.5 cm)
The garlands that make up this complex textile contain hundreds of small quilted and embroidered silk elements—mostly emblems of abundance such as flowers, fruits, jewels, and treasures from the sea along with symbols considered auspicious by Tibetan Buddhists. The composition centers on a large blooming lotus supporting a brimming vase, both ancient Indian symbols of life. This hanging would once have enlivened the interior of a Buddhist temple or audience hall. While long, horizontal examples hung from ceiling beams are more common, this textile’s vertical shape suggests that it might have hung either in front of a large altar or above an entryway, rather like an ornamental festoon in western architecture.
Gift of Anne and Larry Heilman
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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