TYPE: ningxia right facing dragon pillar carpet

CIRCA: 1950 or before

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 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 golden scaled dragon is depicted in the clouds chasing the Precious Jewel, with the dragons head very well drawn with a flowing lion-like mane and long whiskers. The disembodied ‘heads’ across the top represent Dzeepa’s*, mythological creatures that serve as protective guardians intended to ward off evil, while hanging beneath them are small banners (or stylised lanterns) with pearl necklace’s strung between them. Clouds, mountains and waves – with the mythical Mt Meru at the center –  anchor the bottom, while a pearl border, and above it an angular t-shaped meander, anchor the top. A mix of aniline and natural dyes, and un-dyed wool,  this carpet in excellent condition. A beautiful ‘mid’ 1900’s (probably mid to late 2nd quarter) 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: 2.20m x 0.98m

WARP: cotton

WEFT: cotton

KNOT COUNT: 30 kpsi