Glanz der Himmelssoehne




The Yamanka lotus and peony daybed cover
Ningxia, middle of the 17th century
194 x 259 cm, wool pile on a cotton foundation
Private collection, Ticino

The field of this daybed cover is composed of a series of well executed lotus and peony flowers arranged symmetrically on a fine meandering, trailing leaf stem with large yellow leaves. With a few exceptions, the flowers at the lower end of the field point down and those at the upper end point upwards. The stem has a calm flowing rhythm, with curves following straighter lines across the rectangular field. The extraordinarily fresh colours of the flowers and leaves create a striking appearance against the dark blue background. The inner border is a 'T' pattern and the outer primary border a swastika fret design that reverses at the centre of each side and end. The borders are separated by a series of narrow bands and the outer brown frame has been restored in places. The careful positioning and movement of the flowers and colour across the composition create a well balanced and elegant design.

Later versions of these leaf and peony forms, where the leaf stems have become less prominent and faded into the background, can be seen on the Goloubew and Bad Homburg rugs (nos 25, 26), which both date from the second quarter of the 18th century.


published to accompany the recent exhibition Glanz der Himmelssoehne,
held at the Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne, October 2005 to January 2006
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all text and illustrations © textile-art 2006: not to be reproduced without permission