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.
65 Rugs Found in Animal Motifs Rugs
This lovely fragment of a classical Spanish Alcaraz carpet displays a lovely acanthus vinescroll pattern in a classicizing Renaissance style
This brilliant vintage example of Colombian needlework features a whimsical scene with colorful animals, people, plants and buildings set over a chic jewel-tone background.
An exciting work, this vintage piece features the sort of design that makes Italian dinner textiles so unique: a fun and boisterous depiction of traditional Italian ingredients in their natural habitat.
Crafted during the illustrious Ming Dynasty, this 16th century Chinese creation typifies the beloved dragon carpet with its undulating body and celestial vapors.
Perfect for today's natural history fascination, this modern underwater rug depicts an elegant polychromatic seahorse surrounded by graceful fronds of sea grass.
This gorgeous vintage rug 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 spectacularly styled vintage French tapestry features a fantastical naturalistic landscape scene decorated with stylized plants and ornate avian creatures.
Crafted in Sweden, this decorative vintage Scandinavian rug features a spectacular Gobelins-style tapestry composition that depicts a lively European market scene.
The unusual design and coloration of this incredible antique hooked rug make it an authentic piece of Americana.
This amazing piece from Qashqai features a glorious Persian lion against a ruby red field. Rich cultural symbolism and mastery of craft amaze.
This graphic vintage Peruvian textile features a splendid mirror-image pattern with angular llamas and quirky animal figures set over a lenticular background.
Delightfully imaginative and whimsical, this charming piece of textile art features a fanciful depiction of a monstrous figure, with the body of a bird and a strange, blue mammalian head.
This fascinating rug from Qashqai features an armed Persian lion set against a red field, creating a commanding presence.
Quintessentially modern and beautifully composed, this vintage rug is an intriguing example.
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.
A pictorial tapestry, this handsome example depicts a beautifully detailed scene in a village, full of locals going about their daily lives.
On this lovely antique Oriental Chinese throne cover, somersaulting dragons sprawl across the soft yellow ground.