The History of Animal Rug Design dates back to the Pazyryk rug of 500 BC
Animal Rugs - The great artisans that wove these antique carpets were masters at depicting small details that required great accuracy. The exotic animals were not always represented in nature but inspired by books and the imagination of the artists. For example, this Turkish Oushak rug features the mythical dragon and griffin entangled in a never-ending battle. This Tibetan rug also portrays the dragon motif, but in a more traditional Eastern Oriental format. Animals aren't always so ferocious though as is exemplified in the passivity of the birds and fish in this tranquil Amritsar rug from India.
Dragons, eagles, unicorns, geometric animals and hunting scenes are all found in antique rugs. From early American hooked rugs to Oriental rugs from China, these spectacular textiles feature iconic animals that are symbolic and naturalistic. Artists and weavers in the east and the west have never abandoned their connection with the natural world and storybook legends. These exceptional animal rugs incorporate art, mythology and beasts that are real and imagined. Faux tiger pelts are re-created in Buddhist rugs from Tibet, graceful birds and mythical animals are featured in Chinese rank badges, and serpents, predators and placid animals are pictured in the iconic hunting rugs and Tree of Life rug patterns carpets produced in Islamic countries.
In many cases, these animals symbolize supernatural powers, superstitions, legends and things that transcend their zoological form. Tribal weavers used abstract wolf's mouth symbols to ward off powerful predators. The regal peacock often symbolizes power, nobility and status. The majestic lion has spawned an entire subset of artistic Persian rugs. Despite the diversity in the types of animals depicted, the way they are drawn and the qualities they stand for, animal carpets are an important group of rugs that also represent the profound skill required to draw and execute these detail-rich pieces.
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63 Rugs Found in Animal Motifs
This lovely fragment of a classical Spanish Alcaraz carpet displays a lovely acanthus vinescroll pattern in a classicizing Renaissance style
This beautiful English tapestry design is the epitome of elegance.
Origin: Colombian Size:
2 ft 1 in x 2 ft 3 in
(0.63 m x 0.69 m)
This brilliant example of Colombian needlework features a whimsical scene with colorful animals, people, plants and buildings set over a chic jewel-tone background.
This gorgeous piece from Qashqai features an intimidating, armed Persian lion against a blood red field, creating an impression of authority and tradition.
Woven in the early 20th century, this antique American hooked rug features a charming juxtaposed horse-head pattern framed by a series of simple ecru borders.
This pictorial carpet from Esfahan features a pictorial scene depicting everyday life in Persia.
This spectacularly styled vintage French tapestry features a fantastical naturalistic landscape scene decorated with stylized plants and ornate avian creatures.
Crafted in Sweden, this decorative Scandinavian rug features a spectacular Gobelins-style tapestry composition that depicts a lively European market scene.
This amazing piece from Qashqai features a glorious Persian lion against a ruby red field. Rich cultural symbolism and mastery of craft amaze.
The unusual design and coloration of this incredible antique hooked rug make it an authentic piece of Americana.
This graphic vintage Peruvian textile features a splendid mirror-image pattern with angular llamas and quirky animal figures set over a lenticular background.
This fascinating rug from Qashqai features an armed Persian lion set against a red field, creating a commanding presence.
This stunning Kashan carpet features a central arabesque medallion as well as two vinescroll vases aligned in a runner-style format.
A menagerie of animals and people repeats across the warm ivory surface of these charmingly tribal antique Luri saddle bags from Persia.
This charming rug features a traditional Chinese scene, but is distinct for its utilization of sumptuous colors.
This charming antique Bakhtiari rug from Persian is characterized by impressive detail work throughout, as well as a unique, pictorial central medallion.
On this lovely antique Oriental Chinese throne cover, somersaulting dragons sprawl across the soft yellow ground.
This charming antique rug from Aubusson features a triple medallion pattern framed by a series of ornate borders.
This fantastic antique Khorassan carpet is a particularly excellent example of a traditional Hunting Scene. Highly prized among Persian rug enthusiasts, Hunting Scene pieces such as this are in the finest tradition of Persian rug making.
This stately Agra carpet features a dramatic, flower-filled lozenge medallion in oxidized burgundy flanked by two pronounced pendants.
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