Antique Far East Rugs

Learning About Antique Rugs From The Far East

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Antique Carpet Weaving and History of Rugs from the Far East

Antique Rugs From The Far East – It is hard to be sure how early pile carpets came to be produced in China. Archaeological finds on the western periphery of China prove that that pile rugs were already being made at least as early as the Han period (first to third centuries A.D.).

It would seem that the Altaic nomads who invented pile carpets spread their technique south and east into China, Tibet, and East Turkestan as well as westward into Iran and the Middle East already by ancient times.

Antique Rugs From The Far East by Nazmiyal
Antique Rugs From The Far East

Pile carpets probably remained in production during the succeeding centuries, periodically reinforced by new contacts with the northern nomads. Depictions of rugs in twelfth-century Chinese paintings attest to their continued production at this time.

Marco Polo mentions rugs in his account of China in the reign of the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan. The illustrated scroll of the Lady Wen Chi depicts a Mongolia encampment outfitted with rugs.

Rugs From The Far East by nazmiyal
Depiction of a rug in a13th century Mongol encampment, from Scroll of Lady Wen Chi, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (from V. Gantzhorn, Oriental Carpets, ill. 214).

It seems clear that if rug production was not already well under way before the Mongol conquest of China, it certainly became so under Mongol rule. Extant Chinese carpets, however, cannot be dated any earlier than the early Ch’ing or Manchu Dynasty in the seventeenth century, when court manufacturies were established at Ningshia.

These were the Chinese equivalents of the great carpets of Safavid Iran and Mughal India.

Antique Rugs From The Far East by Nazmiyal
Antique Rugs From The Far East

The design of the classical Chinese carpets varied enormously, from pieces with open fields and spare floral or geometric motifs, to complex lattice designs, dense patterns of writhing dragons, central medallion compositions, or pictorial scenes, but always with the distinctive quality that typifies all Chinese art.

Chinese carpet weaving in this period exerted a considerable impact on rug production in neighboring Tibet and East Turkestan.

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