The white animals facing each other, encircled by Sassanian style roundels, are white tigers, one of the “four” Chinese divine creatures. The red birds in the alternate roundels are the fabulous birds called “Sujaku”, also one of the four divine creatures. In ancient China, the white tiger was believed to be a guardian spirit who presides over the west, and the “Sujaku” a guardian spirit who presides over the south.
Fragment of warp-patterned nishiki, unearthed at Astana, Hsin-chiang, China. Discovery of Sir Aurel Stein. National Museum, New Delhi
Silk, nishiki, with patterns of beaded medallions enclosing paired-phoenixes and paired-lions on a red ground Tokyo National Museum
“Since the phoenix …is a typical Chinese motif, perhaps Chinese artisans created this pattern utilizing Persian-derived beaded roundels. We can not be cartain where the fragmentin this plate was woven, but since it is very similarto the piece Stein found, perhaps it was made in China and imported to Japan. “
Buddhist ritual banner fragment The Shokkókin banner 109X15 cm Tokyo National Museum
Source: Kaneo Matsumoto: Jodai-Gire. 7th and 8th Century Textiles in Japan from the Shoso-in and Horyu-ji