TYPE: Tibetan seating squares (from a longer ‘runner’)

CIRCA: 1900 – 1920

Two seating squares (sometimes referred to as ‘mediation’ squares / carpets) that have almost certainly come from a much longer Tibetan ‘runner’ (a very long narrow carpet) that would have consisted of multiple squares (anywhere from three to fifteen, or even more). This can be ascertained by the colouration change in the dyed wool at one end where the carpet has been repiled for about 2.5 cm (1 inch). When shortening was done, it was often necessary to repile the end of the carpet where it had been cut from the other section (although sometimes luck was with the ‘cutter’ and no repiling was necessary). In this case the dye in the three rows of replied knots, which would have originally been very dark blue so as to match the narrow outermost border – has faded over time and reverted back to what is a naturally medium-brownish coloured wool. (This small strip of repiling can be seen by the wool colour change at the end in two of the above photos.) It may have been shortened because of damage to some other section, or even just to ‘share’ among family members when a parent (the ‘owner’) passed away. Yes, families actually cut up carpets – and not just ‘runners’ – so each family member would have an ‘equal’ share of the carpet! However, in the past, ‘at source’ dealers in Asia also cut long runners into single or double squares thinking they could get more money – and often did – per piece. And small sections  / pieces were often much more readily sellable than carpets that were very long.

The carpet is made with a mix of natural and aniline dyes and the maroon main field encompasses an orange coloured mandala which then hosts a central floral display. The design in the larger of the inner secondary borders is woven to imitate the tie-dyed tigma (cross) pattern much loved by Tibetans, while the main outer border is the ‘running’ or interlocking T design. Other than the three rows of knots on the one end that has been repiled long ago, and the reduced ‘shaggy’ fringes along the selvedges that have naturally worn off over time and use, there are no other repairs or damages to the carpet itself.

SIZE: 1.35m x 0.74m

WARP: cotton

WEFT: wool

KNOT COUNT: 45kpsi