TYPE: A Tibetan horse or yak cover / blanket

CIRCA: early 1900’s

A Tibetan trapezoidal blanket – known as a ‘takheb’ – that was used to cover either a horse or yak, and in this instance ‘pile-less’ and being almost certainly of nomadic origin; and purportedly from the Kailash region of Tibet. The front consists of five strips of a sturdy, fairly heavily woven, nambu cloth sewn horizontally together, while the back is thick felt (which itself probably had a protective cloth cover / backing at some stage). The outer border design is of a ‘gau box’ or amulet / talisman like repeating pattern, while the main field features four animistic figures. All the designs, both border and figures, is of dark brown animal hair, save for one figure which is light brown hair. It is worth noting here that a point of some debate has arisen around the very small group of blankets of this type with similar zoomorphic figures, in that there has been a suggestion that the figures may have been / were added to some of the blankets at a later date to ‘enhance’ an otherwise plain center field, although this proposition appears to be as much speculation as proven fact in all cases. Be that as it may, whether or not the figures were added ‘post-weave’, it is an unusual blanket in its own right with the ‘gau box like’ border pattern being quite attractive. [A similar example of a zoomorphic takheb, but apparently more contemporary, can be seen published on page 270, plate 186, in the superb book on Tibetan carpets entitled Sacred and Secular by Robert Piccus.] Both warp and weft are hand woven; the warp consist of a mix of wool and animal hair, while the weft is primarily wool with some animal hair interwoven. Other than some fraying on the upper left edge (where a ‘tie-down’ strap has chafed) there are no holes or repairs and the wool used in its construction is of a very fine quality.

SIZE: 0.92m x 1.02m top x 1.44m bottom

WARP: wool with animal hair

WEFT: mainly wool with some animal hair