TYPE: Buddhist monastery Lama pictorial ‘banner’ (wall hanging) carpet

CIRCA: early 1900’s

A striking, very well balanced and aesthetically pleasing pictorial carpet featuring a Buddhist lama (i.e. priest) made originally to be wall-hung in a Buddhist monastery (and are often referred to as ‘banner carpets’). These ‘lama carpets’, as they are colloquially known, were generally made in almost matching pairs – that is the only difference being that each carpet’s lama figure faced the other when hung. So in all likelihood it was one of a pair used to adorn the wall either side of a high lama’s throne (as opposed to encircling a pillar as other hanging carpets known as ‘pillar carpets’ were specifically made for – see  https://warpandweft.club/portfolio-item/ningxia-item-8/ ). These types of hanging carpets depicting a lama are also significantly rarer than are the more familiar ones with the dragon, and hence are less seen on the market. Here the lama is depicted surrounded by various auspicious symbols relating to Buddhism and is blowing on a conch shell, which symbolises calling the faithful to prayer. Towards the top of the carpet is the head of an ancient mythological creature – known as a Dzeepa* – used to keep evil spirits at bay, and here used to symbolise a guardian of the ‘dharma’, or the ‘true way’ in Buddhism. This richly symbolic and visually well balanced carpet was made in either the Ningxia or Gansu regions of China and the lustrous colours are rich and fast, with the saffron background being a deep burnished golden yellow that appears to glow. It is in very good condition with no repairs, and has been professionally washed. The warp and weft are both cotton and the pile is full, having never been used – or meant to be used – on the floor. Adorning the wall of a home or office, or a mediation room / retreat, it would make a unique focal point sure to garner attention.

*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 can also be seen portrayed on some of the other pillar carpets featured on this page https://warpandweft.club/ningxia/)

SIZE: 2.55m x 0.90m@top x 0.95m@bottom

WARP: Cotton

WEFT: Cotton

KNOT COUNT: 42 kpsi

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