A magnificent scalloped-cornered saddle carpet made of the highest quality wool from Inner Mongolia, probably made in the Baotou area. A master dyer obviously made the dyes for the wool used in this carpet as there is really only one dyed colour, which is blue but in various shades / tones; while the ‘white’ used elsewhere is natural undyed white / off-white wool. For instance, notice how the blue in the main outer border differs on either side of the carpet, as does the ‘white’ in the central roundels. Note also the four rounded leather-edged ‘holes’ for the saddle girth straps – the closeup shown above is from top and bottom of the carpet – a sure sign of its Mongolian heritage. (For more information on these saddle carpets from Inner Mongolia see Chapter 9 – and a photo of the ‘scalloped-edge design’ on page 105 – in the book Dragon and Horse by Koos de Jong, published 2013). The center field uses the running swastika design to good effect, and is centrally ’embossed’ with a plain circular roundel of undyed wool. The main outer border consist of a depiction of either flowers, or the ‘lucky coin’ design, inter-spaced with various cartouche’s containing the ‘shou’ symbol, the character for double happiness and longevity. Next to it is a secondary inner border with the ‘running’ or ‘Greek’ T design, while the innermost secondary border depicts the sacred pearl. The carpet is in immaculate condition and although it can be seen as having been used at times – by the wear on the leather surrounding the girth strap ‘holes’ – it has obviously been a treasured possession used only use on very special occasions and more likely kept as an “heirloom” as it were. (Provenance; previously collection of Charlotte Horstmann*, Hong Kong.) A truly elegant, rare, collectors piece.
*According to Christie’s Auction House “Charlotte Horstmann is considered one of the most illustrious Asian art dealers of the last century, and lived an extraordinary life in Europe, Asia and America. Born in 1908 near Berlin, Germany to a Chinese father and a German mother, Horstmann moved to China in 1912 as a young child and received a German education in Beijing. Because of her father’s objection to women receiving higher education, Horstmann never went to university but with a good eye and instinct for Chinese art, she soon established herself among dealers, foreign dignitaries and collectors in Beijing in the late 1920s. It was also the age when Chinese art was formally introduced to the world. In 1947 Horstmann launched her first business in Beijing selling costume jewellery, mandarin gowns and embroideries and some paintings. As the political situation in China deteriorated, Horstmann left China for Hong Kong in 1954 where she diversified her business into furniture and clothing, and occupied shops in prestigious locations such as the Peninsula Court and the then newly-built Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui. With her timeless taste and vision, Horstmann is greatly respected for her contribution to the development of the Asian art market and connoisseurship in the 20th century.”