TYPE: Matched pair of Tibetan Gabney (Cushion Covers)

CIRCA: 1920’s / 1930

A rare matched pair of Tibetan gabney (or cushions) in original condition as they came out of Tibet circa 1972. (The inner padding under the ribbed blue backing cloth – which was various layers of felt – was removed prior to leaving Tibet, as the person carrying them walked most of the way from Tibet to Kathmandu across the Himalaya via the Solu Khumbu, and no doubt wanted to carry no extra or unnecessary weight.) They are a mix of natural and aniline dyes and have cotton warp and wool weft and were made circa 1930, or possible before. There are several spots of moth nibbles in both rugs and one big moth ‘bite’ out of the lower left corner of the bottom rug in the left column. This unwarranted attack has (un)thankfully only removed the pile, the foundation is completely intact so easily repairable / rewoven if one wanted. It is very rare to find a matched set of Tibetan carpets, especially gabney; even rarer to find a matched set with two snow lions facing outwards making direct eye contact (often they just face each other). This set would suit a collector or anyone seeking a true rarity weaving from Tibet depicting a seldom seen mythical ‘beast’.

NOTES ON THE SNOW LION: In Tibetan folklore, the Snow Lion is a mythical animal that resides in the Eastern Himalayas. and has a youthful, vibrant energy and a natural sense of delight. Its fur is pure white and its flowing mane is the colour of Tibetan turquoise. The Snow Lion symbolises fearlessness and victory over all obstacles.

In Buddhism, the Snow Lion is the protector of the Buddha. In paintings and sculptures, the Snow Lion appears supporting the thrones of various Buddhist deities, symbolising the strength and bravery of those with perfect wisdom and compassion.

From 1909 until 1959, a single snow lion or a pair of them was used as the national emblem of Tibet on coins, postage stamps, banknotes and the national emblem of Tibet. The version shown on right with two Snow Lions was introduced by the 13th Dalai Lama in 1912 based on old military banners, and is still used by the Government of Tibet in exile.

SIZE: Left (main column) – Top rug 68.5cm x 39cm; Bottom rug 70cm x 40,5cm

WARP: Cotton

WEFT: Wool

KNOT COUNT: 45 kpsi

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