A symbolically powerful carpet from the Ningxia region of China featuring in the center field a pilgrim’s gourd and staff between two double, or crossed, dorje’s (visvavajra’s), both with the yin yang symbol at their center. Made with beautiful lustrous wool and a camel-yellow tone as the primary colour, the center field is then encapsulated by an inner border of small pearls and an outer main border of single dorjes (vajra’s)*, with the ‘endless knot’ motif anchoring the four corners. Given the design and colours, this carpet was probably made as a gift to a Buddhist lama for sitting upon while meditating, but appears to have been seldom used (not unusual, as so many carpets were / are gifted as offering’s to lama’s that they were / are often simply kept in chests and seldom if ever used). It is a stunning piece in excellent condition with no repairs or reweaves.
*In Buddhism a vajra (which is a Sanskrit word, or ‘dorje’ in Tibetan) is a sacred ceremonial or ritual ‘weapon’, mainly employed in the Vedic ritual for dispelling evil forces in Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. It is a powerful Buddhist protective symbol of the unbreakable force of the enlightened state that cannot be destroyed but itself destroys all evil. A single dorje, as seen in the outer border, is shaped like a type of double-ended club with ribbed spherical ends – as seen in the illustration above – whereas here the two motif shows two dorje’s crossed or ‘doubled’. The central gourd and staff are borrowed from Taoist symbology and belong to the pilgrim, or seekers of knowledge, while the staff is said to be able to transmute all things. These and the double-dorje / dorje are apt symbols to be featured on a gift for a high lama.