TYPE: An inner Mongolian under-saddle carpet

 CIRCA: 1850 – 1880

An attractive and well designed 19th century ‘wasp-wasted’ Inner Mongolian (i.e. the Baotou – Suiyuan area) under-saddle carpet. (‘Wasp-wasted’ is a term used to denote a noticeable narrowing at the center of a saddle carpet – in this example where the two sides are joined in the center by red nambu cloth – giving the carpet on either side an almost wing-like appearance.) Besides the overall design pointing to its origin, having circular girth strap holes – intentionally put there and edged-stitched for the girth straps to fit through – are a feature unique to this region* (as opposed to being square or oblong when seen in under-saddle carpets from almost all other regions of China and Tibet). The off-white main field has three individual floral motifs spaced around a central circular floral roundel, while in each corner is what appears to be a lucky coin depiction and a stylised form of the archaic ‘rams horn’ design. The primary arrangement in the main border is a cleverly interlinked combination of the good-luck swastika motif and the sauwastika (reverse swastika) inter-spaced with cartouche’s depicting bamboo and other floral designs, while a cartouche containing an ‘endless knot’ anchors either end of the carpet. Overall it is in very good condition for its age with no holes or repairs (only the wear as can be seen to the red nambu center cloth) and is of a type not often seen on the market. Made originally for someone of status, it has been a treasured possession and whether left ‘as collected’, or professionally washed to brighten it up, it would be a worthy addition to anyone’s collection.

*For more information about under-saddle carpets from this region see text and photos in chapter 9, in the book Dragon and Horse by Koos de Jong. https://warpandweft.club/portfolio-item/books-for-sale/

SIZE: 1,50m Long x 0.60 Wide x 0.51m at the center

WARP: cotton

WEFT: cotton

KNOT COUNT: 42 kpsi