TYPE: a ningxia ‘pillar’ carpet

CIRCA: early 1800’s

A so-called ‘pillar’ carpet made in the Ningxia region of China specifically to go around columns or ‘pillars’ in a Buddhist monastery. The five clawed (Imperial) dragon is portrayed in disjointed ‘segments’ so as when the carpet is wrapped around a column / pillar, it appears that the dragon is writhing around the column / pillar. Here the blue scaled dragon with long whiskers protruding from its nose is depicted chasing the Precious Jewel through clouds, while at the top of the carpet floats a mythical creatures head – known as a Dzeepa* – which keeps evil spirits at bay. Clouds, mountains and waves anchor the bottom – with the mythical Mt Meru at center; while a single key meander, and above it a strip of un-dyed brown wool, anchor the top. An earlier owner has in this instance edge the top and bottom in red cloth, so it can be hung from a wall. Given that the ends are intact, and the red colour cloth, it points to this more recent ‘addition’ possibly having been done by a Buddhist monastery, that ‘hung the carpet’ as opposed to wrapping it around a column (as was its intended use).  A stunning old piece in very good condition with all natural dyes. A collectors piece.

*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: 2.25m x 0.84m

WARP: cotton

WEFT: cotton

KNOT COUNT: 30 kpsi