Beautiful Antique Chinese Peking Rugs and Carpets
Antique Peking rugs and carpets are basically a newer subset of the antique rug production that started in China shortly after the end of the First World War. During this period, Chinese rug weaving factories relocated from Ningxia, as well as other carpet weaving centers, to the Chinese capital.
This move enabled the Chinese Peking rug and carpet weaving to produce bigger rug sizes that were meant fulfill the demand for decorative larger room size rugs that came from both the USA as well as European markets.
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Peking rugs could adhere to the traditional patterns derived from Ningxia production. But at times the designs became simpler and asymmetrical, often tending toward modern western Art Deco taste, and the weaving technique became thicker and tighter to make the rugs more durable for western use.
The Antique Peking Rugs From China
Most people are surprised to learn China’s textile industry dates back hundreds of years. Some of the very first woven carpets were created by tribes of the Sinkiang and Ninghsia regions in western China. Even though they were created centuries ago, China did not start exporting their high-quality, beautiful, and fine rugs to western part of the world until the early 20th century.
The origin of the Peking rug is very interesting. Chinese, or Peking, rugs were created in a similar manner as the rugs created in Persia, India, and Central Asia. The technique involves weaving sheep’s wool that was then hand-knotted onto vertical looms. In some instances, these antique Peking rugs were created completely out of silk or silk pile or the hair of goats, camels, and yaks were used to weave the beautiful antique rugs.
Many experts would use Turkish rug knots along the border of the rug. Persian rug knots were used for the field. The pile was usually long while the knotting was long, averaging between 30 60 knots per square inch / KPSI coarse. This caused the yarn to twist loosely, opening at the ends and spreading into tufts to create a denser surface.
The colors of antique Peking rugs are definitely unique, especially when compared to other eastern parts. Most Peking rugs have a limited color palette, consisting of maybe two colors in total. Detailing can be added to the surface, adding a bit more definition that helps create a three-dimensional look. Popular designs that may be found on these antique Chinese rugs include Asian dragon designs, octagon shapes, or lotus flowers.
Production of Antique Chinese Peking Rugs
There are many ancient carpets still in excellent condition today. These carpets were created during the Chen Dynasty. Also known as the Southern Chen dynasty, these carpets date back to 557 – 589 AD. It is standard to date or classify carpets and other textiles according to the dynasty that ruled during their creation.
The production of Peking carpets started to flourish during the mid-19th century. This increased production and popularity could be due to three emperors – Ch’ien Lung, Chia Ch’ing, and Tao Kuang.
During the Saint Louis International Exhibition in 1903, Chinese carpets were highly recognized and awarded a first-place prize, inducing a great deal of appeal and interest in America for the first time. Once the rugs became popular in America, Beijing and Tianjin areas of China grew an intense desire to handcraft the rugs, creating a large and profitable industry.
By the 1920’s, Tiensin and Peking rugs became “all the rage” in the United States.
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