Textile technology in Nepal in the 5th-7th centuries CE: The case of Samdzong
Vanden, Berghe Ina
Science and Technology of Archaeological Research
Taylor & Francis
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Gleba, M., Vanden, B. I., & Aldenderfer, M. (2016). Textile technology in Nepal in the 5th-7th centuries CE: The case of Samdzong. Science and Technology of Archaeological Research, 2 25-35. https://doi.org/10.1080/20548923.2015.1110421
The first results of textile and dye analyses of cloth remains recovered in Samdzong, Upper Mustang, Nepal, are presented. The site consists of ten shaft tombs, dated between the 400-650 CE, cut into a high cliff face at an elevation of 4000 m asl. The dry climate and high altitude favoured the exceptional preservation of organic materials. One of the objects recovered from the elite Samdzong 5 tomb complex is composed of wool fabrics to which copper, glass and cloth beads are attached and probably constitutes the remains of a complex decorative headwear, which may have been attached to a gold/silver mask. SEM was used to identify the fibre sources of the textiles, which are all of animal nature. Two of the textiles are made of degummed silk. There is no evidence for local silk production suggesting that Samdzong was inserted into the long-distance trade network of the Silk Road. HPLC-DAD analysis permitted identification of a variety of organic dyes, including Indian lac, munjeet, turmeric and knotweed/indigo, while cinnabar was identified through micro Raman spectrometry. The results indicate that locally produced materials were used in combination with those likely imported from afar, including China and India.
textiles, dyes, SEM, HPLC-DAD, Nepal, silk
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013-312603). Excavations at Samdzong have been supported by grants to Aldenderfer from the National Geographic Society and the Henry Luce Foundation. Many thanks to Alexia Coudray and Marie-Christine Maquoi for their dedicated work in the KIK/IRPA laboratory.
European Research Council (312603)
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External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/20548923.2015.1110421
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/252707
Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/uk/