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Remains of tapestry from a Xiongnu (Early 1st Century AD) Burial in Mound 22 at Noin-Ula

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2016.44.4.076-082

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Abstract

The article describes two pieces of decorated woolen tapestry discovered by the Russian-Mongolian expedition in a Xiongnu (early 1st century AD) burial at Noin-Ula mound 22, northeastern Mongolia, in 2012. One fragment shows a composition consisting of a line of fl owers surrounded by a “rolling wave” woven along the left edge, and bands of similar waves skirting the opposite side. The design on the other fragment mostly consists of fi ve bands with fl oral patterns separated by plain tawny stripes. Technologically, the fragments are close to woolen fabrics unearthed at Eastern Mediterranean cities such as Palmyra, Dura-Europos, and Masada. The designs resemble those on fabrics from early 1st millennium sites in Xinjiang–Shampula, Niya, and Loulan, as well as those on Syrian fabrics, especially those from Palmyra. However, the Noin-Ula fragments differ from their Palmyran and Xinjiang counterparts by a more expressive manner of rendering fl oral motifs. Based on the analysis of dyes, the original palette is reconstructed. Our analysis suggests that the cloth could have been manufactured at an Eastern Mediterranean tapestry workshop—one of those with a long-standing fame. The cloth was probably imported to Mongolian steppes together with other items along the southern branch of the Great Silk Road.

About the Authors

N. V. Polosmak
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation
Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090


E. A. Karpova
N.N. Vorozhtsov Novosibirsk Institute of Organic Chemistry, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation
Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 9, Novosibirsk, 630090


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For citation:


Polosmak N.V., Karpova E.A. Remains of tapestry from a Xiongnu (Early 1st Century AD) Burial in Mound 22 at Noin-Ula. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2016;44(4):76-82. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2016.44.4.076-082

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