TYPE: A front-facing dragon ‘banner’ (or wall-hanging) carpet

CIRCA: mid 1900’s

This late mid 1900’s carpet depicting a five clawed front facing dragon cavorting among Ming-style clouds was probably made in either Ningxia or the Baotou-Suiyuan region of China and is a reproduction of a much much earlier carpet. These types of long carpets, with the dragon facing forward, are also referred to as ‘banner carpets’, and were specifically meant to be wall hung (as opposed to encircling a pillar as the side-facing dragon pillar carpets were specifically made for ([see * below]). The lack of religious symbolism points towards it (or at least the original that is) having been made to hang on the wall in an Imperial Palace in China, as opposed to a Buddhist monastery. Given that the script at the top is Mongolian (the meaning of which is unknown to us), the original was in all likelihood specifically commissioned and woven in Ningxia at an unknown earlier date – quite possibly in the 18th or 19th century (or earlier, given the Ming style clouds) – and used as a gift from a wealthy Mongolian family to the Chinese Court.

The disembodied ‘heads’ across the top represent Dzeepa’s (see ** below), mythological creatures that serve as protective guardians intended to ward off evil, while strung between them are pearl necklace strands. Stylised clouds, mountains and waves – with the mythical Mt Meru at the center – anchor the bottom, while the Ming style clouds in the main field are beautifully rendered here. Although made with aniline dyes the colours are rich and harmonious, and the wool lustrous. it is a carpet that could be wall hung as originally intended, or used on the floor should one so desire. However it is displayed this carpet is assured to gain attention in your home or office and is quite reasonably priced for a rug of this nature and quality; hence should appeal to those appreciative of quality of weave and visual aesthetics, as opposed to age being the main – or sometimes only – criteria. It is in excellent condition with no colour runs, full pile and no repairs.

*The front-facing dragon is typical for this genre of (hanging) carpet, as apposed to the dragons portrayed on ‘pillar’ (or column) carpets, as they are depicted side-on or side-facing (for a much older example of this ‘side facing’ type dragon carpet see https://warpandweft.club/portfolio-item/ningxia-item-8/). This points to this banner carpet here being made intentionally as a wall hanging, as opposed to encircling a pillar as the more ‘common’ side-facing pillar carpets were specifically made for.

**Dzeepa’s, usually portrayed as a disembodied head, are ancient mythological creatures used to keep evil spirits at bay, and their likeness is very common in several countries throughout Asia. Depending on their locale they go by various names, and assorted spellings; for instance in Tibet he is known as Dzeepa (sometimes spelt Dzeeba / Dzeepa / Zeepa / Zeepah, or variations thereof), while to the Newars of Nepal he is Chepu / Cheppu, and in India he is Kirtimukha. Dzeepa’s can also be seen portrayed on some of the other banner and pillar carpets featured on the page https://warpandweft.club/ningxia/.

SIZE: 2.41m x 0.95m

WARP: cotton

WEFT: cotton

KNOT COUNT: 49kpsi

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