An image of Dharani Sutra quilt

Unknown Artist

Dharani Sutra quilt

Location
Lower Asian gallery
Further information

This very large quilt was intended for use as a cover for a coffin in funeral ceremonies. The main design of a Buddhist stupa, an auspicious design in itself, as well as the surrounding square, rectangular and circular cartouches, are inscribed with excerpts from a 'Dharani sutra'. The texts are written in both Chinese and Sanskrit characters, woven in gold into the red brocade. 'Dharani' are ritual formulae invoked for spiritual benefits; according to Buddhist belief, such textual invocations would protect the deceased against evils, in this life and the next.

This particular type of quilt is rare, since it was used only for the coffins of Qing emperors, empresses dowager, empresses and concubines of the upper rank.

Reference:
Wan Yi, Wang Shuqing, Lu Yanzhen, 'Daily life in the forbidden city', Viking Press, 1988.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, June 2009.

Place of origin
China
Period
China: Qing dynasty 1644–1911
Year
circa 1875
Media
Textile
Medium
red silk brocade woven with silk thread
Dimensions
208.5 x 137.0 cm
Credit
Edward and Goldie Sternberg Chinese Art Purchase Fund 2009
Accession number
246.2009