Dragons are among the most auspicious of all Chinese mythical symbols. Benevolent guardians of sea and sky, these majestic beasts have long been associated with strength, power, and good luck. Traditionally, the Emperor of China himself would dress in vestments adorned with images of dragons, highlighting the importance and sacred nature of these powerful and graceful creatures. This beautiful antique Chinese rug is adorned with stunning depictions of five gorgeous five-clawed dragons – the highest ranking and most auspicious of all Chinese dragons, the type used by Chinese emperors as imperial insignia.
Arranged on a lovely apricot field in this eye-catching antique rug, five beautifully detailed blue dragons form a subtle and innovative medallion. In addition to the potently symbolic dragons themselves, further layers of traditional Chinese symbolism abound throughout the piece: the border of the rug features a beautiful line of clouds done in alternating reds, blues and cream, which represent the sky – the domain of the dragon. These lovely clouds are bounded on the interior by a beautiful artistic representation of the sea: rich and creamy frothy waves. According to Chinese tradition, the dragon is also the master of the sea.
The flaming pearls positioned between the dragons on this exquisite rug is also a traditionally important symbol : according to legend, it was the desire of the great dragons to capture the sun from the sky. Initially depicted as a flaming red ball, the sun would later be depicted as a white sphere engulfed in red fire, and was thus often referred to as a “flaming pearl.” Dragons are often depicted at play with these flaming pearls, reveling in the glory and honor of their pursuit of the sun.
All of these culturally rich elements combined with brilliant craftsmanship make this traditional Chinese rug an arresting work of art that speaks to us across the years. Its lustrous color scheme with perfectly contrasting colors, its whimsical depiction of the eternal elements, and its deep, mythical subject matter are all culturally significant to the people that brought us this antique Chinese rug, giving it a level of historical import on par with the breadth of its impressive artistic achievement.
If you found this post interesting, check out some of the other things that we’ve written on, including this Wednesday Wishlist post about a modern Gabbeh rug, this post about feng shui for the Chinese New Year, or maybe this piece about the future of Asian architecture!
This blog was published by: Nazmiyal Antique Rugs