TYPE:  a complete full length so-called “gansu kilim”

CIRCA: 1900 (or before)

A complete (i.e. full length) ‘Gansu kilim’ (or ‘tapestry’) with both striped ends fully intact, but folded over at both ends in the above photo (so it fits hanging on our wall.) The photo on the previous ‘lead-in’ page – https://warpandweft.club/portfolio-item/xinjiang-gansu-etc/ – shows it full length.

When describing an almost identical ink painted kilim-like tapestry of almost identical size in the highly recommended book Early Carpets and Tapestries on the Eastern Silk Road (by Glorian Gonick; 2015) the authour states (page 141); “The layout of the five cranes indicates this tapestry, although of fairly heavy weight and lengthy size, was designed to be worn as a costume, wrapped around the body, the largest crane placed at the center to the wearers back”. The book goes on to state / prove that these kilim-like tapestries were originally woven and hand painted by Uyghur migrants from Xinjiang that had settled in Gansu Province, China in the first millennium. (Also see a more elaborate example as Plate 17 in the book Chinese and Exotic Rugs by Murray Eiland, although at the time of publication -1979 – their origins were unknown – to him.) However, by the 18th century (1700’s) these migrants had began to migrate further east along the Yellow River and hand-painting also gave way to the use woodblock printing for the field design. Those wood block print designs scattered throughout the natural reddish-grey undyed wools of the main-field in this original full length piece – which is adorned by five Manchurian cranes as described above which are woven into the tapestry / kilim itself – do not stand out as well as in the shortened piece (https://warpandweft.club/portfolio-item/gansu-kilim-3/) but can be still discerned here. The weave is heavy enough that it could be used / displayed on the floor, or alternately wall-hung as a decorative piece. A beautiful original sized ‘Gansu kilim’ in excellent condition ready for display in any setting.

SIZE: 3.32m x 1.15m

WARP: cotton

WEFT: Wool


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