ANTIQUE TEXTILE ART II
A Collection of Oriental and European Carpets and Textiles
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18. 
a dragon pillar rug
ningxia
northwest china
circa 1870
318 x 175 cm (10'5" x 5'9")


Notes: asymmetrically knotted wool pile on a cotton foundation
A rare blue ground pillar rug of a large format decorated by an imposing and sinuous golden yellow dragon with five claws (the symbol of both the forces of nature and the Chinese Emperor), fluctuating among stylised clouds (the symbols of divine power) in front of a flaming pearl (the symbol of purity). At the feet of the dragon the Sacred Mountain and various Buddhist symbols of good fortune are seen. Examples of this type are called 'pillar' rugs since they were used to wrap around the columns in the Lamaist Buddhist monasteries in China, Mongolia and Tibet. The particular breakdown of the design and the slightly tapered shape of the rug are intentional: it allows the body of the dragon to appear complete once the rug has been fastened around the column.
Provenance: Arthur M. Sackler Collection, New York.

 



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