Strange though it may seem, China did not export its carpets before 1900, whereas many of its works of art in other fields (porcelain, bronzes, wooden ornaments, jade and lacquered wares) had been known and admired abroad for centuries. Europe had to wait until the early 20th century before Chinese carpets appeared on the market in an appreciable quantity. Was it, perhaps, their style, their size and shape, or the relatively coarseness of their knotting that prevented the Chinese rugs from achieving popularity in the West?
Look at the picture in the field of this charming antique Chinese rug - a pair of trees, each one of them is rooted on its own separate piece of land, but while they are well-separated on earth, their tops meet, almost touch, high above in the sky. The talented weaver made the lower part of the trees' trunks look like legs, so that they resemble human figures. This little gesture makes the rug look very vivid and joyful - I call it the rug of the dancing trees.
The whole composition is balanced by contrasts. The tall versus the small, the linear arrangement of the leaves on the small tree versus the rounded, cloud-like arrangements of the tall one, and on the other hand, the linear furrows on the land of the tall tree versus the rounded holes on the land of the small one, the opposing slopes of the terrains and their tones of color. These contrasts work to add liveliness and harmony to the whole scene. You just look at it and say: Yes, life is beautiful.
ציור נוף נחשב בעיני רבים לביטוי הגבוה ביותר של אמנות הציור הסיני ושל אריגת השטיחים הסינית העתיקה. לנוף משמעויות עמוקות בפילוסופיה ובתרבות הסינית והוא מבטא את הנשגב ש"מאחורי הקלעים" של חיי היום יום. ענף עץ, פריחה, עלים - כל כך פשוט.
The linear furrows on the land of right tree versus the rounded holes on the land of the left one
The design and colors of antique Chinese rugs differ greatly from those of other oriental carpets. In a Persian carpet, it is not at all unusual to find between eight to fourteen different, indeed sharply contrasting, colors; in the Chinese carpet presented here, on the other hand, there are between five and eight less sharply contrasting colors: Ivory Baize, Brown, Black, a touch of Salmon Pink and Deep Indigo in the border.
A combination of light pastel leaves and flowers in soft tints with dark branches and a touch of salmon pink forms the field of this beautiful piece of antique Chinese seat cover
The particular shape of an old Chinese carpet is often dictated by its use. The rug presented here was planned to be used as a chair or a seat cover - the upper side of the rounded border of the rug is aligned to fit the straight line of the back of the chair and the two white cotton "ears" on both sides of the rug form a rounded rectangular shape which is suitable for covering the seat of the chair.
לאספנים של שטיחים פרסים, אפגאנים וטורקמנים מן המזרח, מהווה המפגש הראשון עם שטיחים סינים מסורתיים זעזוע תרבותי מעניין במיוחד. העיצוב, סקאלת הצבעים וצפיפות האריגה של שטיחים סינים עתיקים שונים באופן מובהק מאילו של שטיחים אחרים מן המזרח. האמנים הסינים שמו את הדגש על הערכים הסיפוריים, הציוריים והסימליים של העיצוב ולא על התבניות הדקורטיביות שמאפיינות את שטיחי המזרח הקרוב. מגוון צבעי הבסיס בשטיח הסיני המסורתי מצומצם וצפיפות הטוויה נמוכה יחסית לסטנדרט בשטיחים הפרסים והטורקמנים. למרות שנראה במבט ראשון כחסר תחכום, השטיח הסיני המסורתי האיכותי כובש אותך בתחושה הפנימית של הרמוניה, איזון ויופי הנובעים מן הפשטות המושלמת של תרבות בת אלפי שנים.
While color schemes of antique quality Chinese rugs are always relatively simple, the designs, on the other hand, are always very carefully planned and elaborate. It is surprising to find upon close examination that, despite the coarse knotting, the Chinese craftsman managed to endow his design with great subtlety. One has only to examine the gentleness of the symbolic device which decorates this beautiful antique carpet to be convinced of that - please have a close look at the field of this beautiful Chinese rug as well as a look at the back of the rug for checking its Peking style of weaving technique and knotting density.
The border of this rug is a deep indigo ring frame which surrounds the pictorial field - it was probably woven in Peking* or in the area around it in late nineteen century. Since the end of the nineteenth century, Chinese rugs, exclusively intended for export to the West, have been produced in Peking, Tientsin and later in Hong Kong and Imperial Japan. Some of the best rugs made at that period are characterized by figurative elements generally arranged asymmetrically in round medallions. Among the most esteemed motifs we find household objects, animals and the distinctive motif of Chinese landscapes of garden trees which are renowned for their high artistic as well as spiritual values.
*H.A Lorentz, the author of A view of Chinese Rugs, is of the opinion that it is impossible to determine where classical Chinese carpets were made, since these could just as easily have come from Eastern Turkestan. Carpets attributed to Eastern Turkestan could likewise have been made in Peking. The classification of a given carpet is based, therefore, not so much on its place of manufacture as on its structure and style.
Size: 1' 10.4" x 2' 0.4" - 57
cm x 62 cm - 22.4 in x 24.4 in
Face thickness: 10 mm approx
Origin: China, Peking
Weaving technique: Knotted and piled hand weaving
Age: more than 100 years old (late 19th or early 20th century).
Item: R1007/22 - Antique Chinese Peking Rug