The Sogdian Empire was an ancient Iranian civilisation, and the heart of an extensive trade network. The Sogdians, described as ‘the great traders of Inner Asia’, would supply a plethora of goods to its surrounding population by trading along the Silk Road, establishing a particularly strong network with China. Due to the advantageous location of the Sogdian Empire, at the centre of the crossroads in present-day Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, they traded the best silks from China with the Eastern Persian market, leading to a strong influence of Sassanian motifs in Sogdian design. Sogdian silks, which were regarded as precious items of enormous prestige, have been found in sites all the way up to in northwest China. The present fragment shows one of a pair of confronting deers within a pearled roundel, a design layout originating from Byzantine and Sassanian silks. The magical palette sets it apart from its group, it being composed of tones of antique rose and gold yellow set against a teal green background.
Conserved on a linen backing and mounted on a wooden stretcher