TYPE: Under-saddle carpet with tigers and dragons

CIRCA: Early 1900’s – 1920


Tibetan ‘butterfly’ shaped makden, or under-saddle carpet, featuring a rare depiction of tigers (in place of the usual snow-lions sometimes seen in the same configuration on makdens). The tiger depiction was a symbol of high rank in Tibet with both the secular upper class and the religious class using weaving’s depicting them. Although tigers were not native to Tibet they were found in neighbouring countries such as India and China and their pelts sometimes made their way to Tibet through overland trade. However, while actual pelts were at times used, the Buddhist dislike of killing animals lead more often to their imagery being woven into carpets, either as depicted here, or pelt replicas or abstracts of just the tiger’s stripes. Here we have an under-saddle carpet with a tiger either side and six dragons chasing the elusive ‘flaming jewel’ in the border. Made in the early 1900’s, the warp is cotton while the pile and weft are both hand-spun wool. The colours are all very good and appear to be all, or primarily, from natural sources, while undyed wool has been used for the tan coloured center-field. It is edged in felt covered with red nambu cloth and backed by a grey cotton cloth, the size is 111cm wide (at bottom) x 67cm high (through center) and it is in excellent condition. One for the collector!

For another uncommon example of a saddle rug with tigers see page 45 in the book Patterns of Life; The Art of Tibetan Carpets by Thomas Cole.

SIZE: 67cm high @ center

           111cm wide @ bottom

           87cm wide @ top

WARP: cotton

WEFT: hand-spun wool

KNOT COUNT: 54kpsi

error: Content is protected !!