TYPE: Buddhist monastery wall hanging – Lama pictorial carpet

CIRCA: early 1900’s

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. As 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 – it was most likely one of a pair used to adorn the wall behind either side of a high lama’s throne (as opposed to encircling a pillar as other ‘hanging’ carpets depicting side facing dragons 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. At the top of the carpet is the head of an ancient mythological creature used to keep evil spirits at bay, here used to symbolise a guardian of the ‘dharma’, or the ‘true way’ in Buddhism. (This mythological creature is very common in several countries in Asia and goes by various names – and assorted spellings; for instance to the Newars of Nepal he is Chepu / Cheppu, in Tibet known as Zeepa / Dzeepa / Zeepah / Dzeepak and in India as Kirtimukha.) 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.

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

WARP: Cotton

WEFT: Cotton

KNOT COUNT: 42 kpsi

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