TYPE: Tibetan saddle carpet

CIRCA: 1900

Very unusual Tibetan saddle carpet. What at first glance looks like your ‘normal’ oval shaped under-saddle carpet (that is, two halves simply stitched together across the centre join), this piece is intriguingly woven / plied together in a very atypical / uncharacteristic manner. (If one looks at the two comparison close-up images showing the top and underside of the centre join area – one of the very center of the mandala, the other toward the selvages – one will immediately see on the underside this atypical interlocking method used to weave / ply the two sides / halves together.) This carpet has been made using hand spun wool for the warp, weft and pile, with the weft consisting of three randomly interspersed colours of natural (undyed) wool; i.e. ‘white/off-white’, grey and a darker brown wool. All the ‘whites’ throughout the pile are also natural (undyed) wool. As for design elements, the outer main border uses the interlocking T pattern with sparsely inter-spaced flowers, while the inner secondary border is of pearls. At the centre of the carpet is a lotus-like mandala, with the ‘frog-foot’ design spaced throughout the main field. There is some pile wear towards either end – more noticeable at one end than the other – where, presumably, the riders legs rubbed on the carpet, otherwise it has good pile elsewhere. (Note: what might look like several lines / rows of reweave at one end, only noticeable on the backside, is nothing more than several rows of dark brown weft ‘standing out’ from the much lighter coloured wefts used either side of those rows and thus ‘blending in’ with the blue knots and thus accentuating those rows  – see the three-photo composite image, showing top, underside, and a close up comparison of that area). It is rather short for an under-saddle carpet, but the two leather encased girth strap holes points to use as such. Was it then made for a young person(?), or an under saddle carpet plied together to make a shorter above-saddle carpet(?). Several uncharacteristic aspects of this carpet make it quite intriguing, which aficionados of Tibetan saddle carpets will find thought provoking. The very atypical method used to join the centre of this carpet shows weaving skill and certainly makes it quite the oddity.

SIZE: 0.85m x 0.51m

WARP: wool

WEFT: wool


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