Beautiful Large Antique Dragon Chinese Rug, Country Of Origin: China, Circa Date: 1920 – This breathtaking Chinoiserie chic rug is a gorgeous vintage piece from the 1920s. It has roaring twenties and Art Deco woven into every thread. It has an aged appearance with midnight details set against an earthy background. It is a stunning piece that could easily complement a formal space or a more casual one.
It features a classic Chinese design that has elements of earth, sky, and water. Gentle clouds and garden motifs float along the borders. The Chinese symbols in the corners may represent the person for whom the rug was commissioned, or it might represent a wish such as good luck, health, or fortune. You will find representations of the cardinal directions among the clouds, adding a mystical element to the design.
The style of the design barely hints at the forms, sometimes using a faint, single line to represent the figure or motifs, allowing the viewer’s imagination to fill in the rest. This is a technique that you often see in Chinese watercolor painting. In the center of the rug stands a cloud dragon, a symbol that began to appear on Chinese coins almost 2,000 years ago. The cloud dragon is a mystical, mythical creature who expels the clouds with each breath and summons the rain.
Eventually, the cloud dragon would evolve to represent the Emperor or the government. By the Qing Dynasty, a dragon with five claws was for the exclusive use of the royal courts. Although dragons could be used in other artwork, only a dignitary or someone on a high level of the government could use a five-clawed dragon. Anyone else could be punished for displaying such a dragon. This rule was still in effect up through 1928. This rug is fascinating because four claws can clearly be seen, and there is a faint indication of a “brush mark” that might indicate a fifth claw. The imperial dragon is often depicted in a circle of clouds as a representation of their connection with the Son of Heaven and the divine realms. The Chinese throne is often referred to as the Dragon Throne.
Another symbol that you see on this carpet in the cloud circle surrounding the dragon is the Chinese knot. The Chinese knot began to appear during the Tang Dynasty between 618-917 A.D. Several different meanings of the knot have emerged over time. It can mean spirit, divine, life, to marry or unite, or to bear fruit.
This is a breathtaking piece, and it is even more fascinating when you begin to delve into its mysteries. There is no doubt that this is a gorgeous piece of classic Chinese artwork that was created at a time when the world was fascinated by anything Chinese or Oriental. However, the symbolism on this rug seems to tell a special story. Although the real history of this rug has been lost to time, there are many indications that it was more than likely a piece commissioned for a high- ranking member of the Chinese government, rather than a purely artistic piece. Regardless of its real history, it is a remarkable piece for your home, office, or collection.