the ill-matched threads

Textile with Animals, Birds, and Flowers, Eastern Central Asia,  late 12th–14th century. Silk embroidery on plain-weave silk, Metropolitan Museum.

Textile with Animals, Birds, and Flowers, Eastern Central Asia, late 12th–14th century. Silk embroidery on plain-weave silk, Metropolitan Museum.

I, 17

by Rainer Maria Rilke

She who reconciles the ill-matched threads
of her life, and weaves them gratefully
into a single cloth—
it’s she who drives the loudmouths from the hall
and clears it for a different celebration
where the one guest is you.
In the softness of evening
it’s you she receives.
You are the partner of her loneliness,
the unspeaking center of her monologues.
With each disclosure you encompass more
and she stretches beyond what limits her,
to hold you.

“I, 17″ by Ranier Maria Rilke from Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

a bit about the object

This textile demonstrates the longevity of motifs in eastern Central Asia. The placement of animals—a spotted horse, a rabbit, and two deer (or antelope)—at its cardinal points is a compositional device that began to appear in the region during the Han dynasty. The birds on the piece, especially the parrot, entered the Central Asian repertoire during a second period of strong Chinese influence, the Tang dynasty. The floral background’s central motif of lotus blossoms, a lotus leaf, and a trefoil leaf was seen in Central Asia and North China but became widespread during the Yuan dynasty.

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1 Comment

Filed under Art, Poetry/Literature

One response to “the ill-matched threads

  1. Not sure I understand this poem, but I like it.
    Lovely textile.
    Marilyn

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