A 5th–6th century Sasanian silk taqueté with simurgh design: new analysis and hypothesis of early patterned weaving transmission in Eurasia



Sasanian, taqueté, zilu, silk, drawloom


The structural analysis of an exceptional Sasanian unspun silk taqueté (weft-faced compound plain weave) from the Chris Hall collection confirms that a sophisticated loom equipped with a patterning system allowing for a mechanical pattern repeat in the weft direction was present in Central Asia as early as the 5th–6th century CE. In this article, comparisons are made with some important published fragments, and the technical aspects of luxurious silk compound weaving in the Silk Roads in the 5th–6th century CE are discussed, along with the introduction of unspun silk and the gradual spread of sericulture, silk yarn production, and silk weaving from East to West Eurasia. A hypothesis regarding the type of loom mechanism used to produce the taqueté weaving is also presented here, based around a zilu-type loom with a vertical warp; this is placed in the context of the development of patterning systems along the Silk Road region and technological exchanges that may have taken place. This line of technology development may have contributed to the appearance of fully-fledged drawlooms in both China and Central Asia.

Author Biography

Eric Boudot, Independent researcher

Graduate of the École Pratique des Hautes Études