Silk Pidan (temple hanging)
Origin: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Date: 20th Century CE, c. 1930
Measurements: 83 x 164 cm
Medium: Silk, natural dyes
Source: Musée du quai Branly, France
This textile was given by the Agence de la France d’outre mer to the Musee des Arts d’Afrique et d’Oceanie after the Colonial Exhibitionin Paris, 1931. It was given to the Musée de l’Homme in 1962. The largest part of the Asian collection of the musée du quai Branly were transferred from the Musée de l’Homme in 1997.
These hangings (pidan) are woven by women for donation to the temple where they adorn the altar of Buddha. Like other religious donations, a pidan offering is considered a source of merit taken into account in subsequent rebirths in Theravâda Buddhism. Their main themes depict episodes in Buddha’s life, his previous existences, the Jâtaka, or Buddhist cosmology. The theme here is the Three Worlds, or the three “lands” of the universe.