carpet with stylised cloudbands
qianlong period (1736-1795)
520 x 405 cm (17’1” x 13’3”)
asymmetrically knotted wool pile on a cotton foundation
The rare carpets of Mongolia have in recent years achieved a stature of their own. They differ from traditional 19th century Chinese carpets in that they typically employ stylised patterns taken from early Chinese iconography and favour a palette of darker colour combinations. Mongolian carpets are further distinguished by the use of lustrous wool of medium-high shear and by their floppy handle, resulting from the numerous weft passes inserted after each row of knots.
Here the coffee-coloured background is decorated by a central geometric device -an extreme stylisation of the dragon motif - and punctuated by a repeat pattern of stylised cloudbands. The cloudband is an ancient motif seen throughout the history Chinese art and often employed in various forms on carpets from China and neighbouring regions.
The geometric meander border is an appropriate frame for the refined and sober composition of this carpet.