Daulton Art

Antique Cambodian Pidan

pidan (a temple-hanging consisting of a large rectangular panel of handwoven silk decorated with Buddhist themes)

 

silk cloth, consisting of uneven twill groundweave patterned with resist-dyed weft thread (a technique known as hol in Cambodia, as ikat elsewhere)

 

L 9ft. 5 1/4 in.   W 2ft. 10 3/4 in. (detail only shown above)

 

Cambodia

 

age uncertain, perhaps beginning of 20th century

 

condition: very good

 

Inv. no. 22





 

Subject matter: The Vessantara Jataka (the story of the Buddha’s most recent past life)

 

The central field of this pidan, consisting of three horizontal registers, is decorated with motifs drawn from the Vessantara Jataka.  Thus, the lower register features, among other motifs, Prince Vessantara (the future Buddha) and an attendant riding the prince’s white elephant (which he will give away to a Brahman priest in this parable on the virtue of giving).  In the middle register, Maddhi, the wife of Prince Vessantara, is shown in a pavilion flanked by their two children.  On each side of the pavilion appears an image of the Buddha seated beneath a stylized bodhi tree.  The top register is decorated with, among other motifs, figures of apsaras, heavenly dancers.

 

Reference:

 

Gillian Green, Traditional Textiles of Cambodia: Cultural Threads and Material Heritage (Chicago: Buppha Press, 2003), pp. 222-234.

 

Inv. no. 22 is the virtually-identical companion piece to Inv. no. 12(Cambodian pidan 2, above).  Both of them were acquired from the same source; and they obviously were produced by the same workshop.