TYPE: a Tibetan under-saddle carpet, checker design

CIRCA: 1920 (or earlier)

A so-called ‘butterfly shaped’ Tibetan under-saddle carpet (makden),  the shape of which is generally believed to have been ‘introduced’ by the Younghusband expedition to (i.e. the invasion of) Tibet in 1903, after which it was copied from those used by the British cavalry and subsequently became popular in Tibet. (however, some scholars believe it may have been introduced to Tibet earlier, as no doubt Tibetan traveler to India would have sen this shape prior to 1903.) This example features a seldom used checker design (for a makden) of light and dark green, nicely abrashed, as the central field. The outer border is also unusual as although at first glance it appears to be the ‘rice-grain’ pattern, it is actually a more elaborate repeating diamond like design rarely seen, while the inner border is of pearls. Altogether an understated elegant design with mostly natural dyes save for possible the very thin outer red ‘border’. The carpet is backed with a Bhutanese woven materiel, (most likley from a Bhutanese ‘kira’, or woman’s dress) not often seen / used on Tibetan carpets. A charming piece with an understated minimalist impression.

SIZE: 0.61m x 0.81m top x 1.08 bottom

WARP: cotton

WEFT: wool

KNOT COUNT: n/a (backing not removed)