TYPE: Mythical Qilin and Pheonix ‘khaden’ from Inner-Mongolia

CIRCA: 1900 / late 1800’s

A rare and collectible Chinese carpet – believed to have been made somewhere in Inner Mongolia no later than 1900, quite possibly in the last quarter 1800’s – and that came out of Tibet – hence the red cloth covered felt border so popular amongst Tibetans. It depicts two very well rendered mythical creatures, the Qilin and the Phoenix, and has symbolic religious motifs (the Endless Knot, the Two Fishes and the Wheel Of Life) at the cardinal points in the border. It has cotton warp and weft and the size is 163cm x 86cm including the red cloth border. It came out of Tibet in the early 1960’s with a refugee fleeing Chinese persecution and was collected in Kathmandu, Nepal, circa 1970, and this is the first time on the market since then. The colours are very solid, there are no ‘colour runs’, no repairs or reweaves, and is in excellent condition.

Descriptions of the two mythical creatures, the Qilin and Phoenix are below.

The Qilin is a legendary, mythical, hooved creature that appears in Chinese mythology, and is said to appear with the imminent arrival or passing of a sage or illustrious ruler. The Qilin also appears in the mythologies of other Chinese-influenced cultures throughout Asia. Qilin generally have dragon-like features; similar heads and sometimes with antlers, long whiskers, a lions mane and a bushy tail. The body is usually fully scaled and often shaped like an ox, deer, or horse and is always shown with cloven hooves. While Chinese dragons are most commonly depicted as golden, Qilin may be of any colour or even of various colours exhibiting a jewel-like brilliance (as in this example).

The Phoenix is an immortal bird associated with Greek mythology that cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again. Associated with the sun, legend has it that it dies in a show of flames and combustion before rising from it’s ashes and being ‘born’ again. The Phoenix came to be associated with specific colours over time. Although the Phoenix was generally believed to be colorful and vibrant, sources provide no clear consensus about it save having a crest of feathers on its head; Ezekiel the Dramatist compared it to a rooster; while Herodotus’s claimed the Phoenix was red and yellow. Ezekiel the Tragedian declared that the Phoenix had red legs while Lactantius said that its legs were covered in yellow-gold scales with rose-colored talons. (Note the resemblance of all these attributes here in this carpet’s Phoenix!)

SIZE: 163cm x 86cm inc. red cloth border

WARP: Cotton

WEFT: Cotton

KNOT COUNT:  +/- 40 kpsi