Reference Number: 17078
Size: 10 ft 0 in x 7 ft 8 in
Woven: Last Qtr 19th Century
The Ningxia region in northern China is generally accepted as being one of the first regions to actively weave carpets in that country. This has been attributed to shared cultural links with the Central Asian population to the west. The weavers in this region were converted by Arabs in the ninth century to the Muslim faith, linking them directly to their counterparts in East Turkestan who had woven carpets for centuries. Written documentation suggests that carpets were being produced as early as the 17th Century, however few examples have survived. The style of these rugs can be compared with the highest forms of Chinese court art. Although presented in an often limited range of colors, the designs convey philosophical, religious, and social concepts. In the 1860s an organized carpet industry was established under imperial patronage in Peking. These carpets tended to have tighter and finer weaves than their Ningxia counterparts, often having knot qualities up to 100 knots per square inch. Most antique Peking carpets employ liberal usage of undyed ivory wool and indigo-colored wool, as the indigo plant was indigenous to China. This example depicts the eight horses of the emperor Mu Wang, the fifth emperor of the Zhou Dynasty (1023 – 983 BC). This subject is most often illustrated on 18th Century porcelain. These horses pulled his chariot throughout his kingdom and different accounts have them being named for either the color of their hair or by their individual, unusual talents.
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