TYPE: A tiger striped takyeb, for the forehead of a horse or a yak

CIRCA: 1900’s (probably 2nd quarter)

The main field of this tiger striped Sino-Tibetan takyeb – used as a decoration for the forehead of a horse or a yak – is natural un-dyed light brown wool, while the stripes themselves are an un-dyed dark brown wool and is very unusual in its construction. Of particular interest, and hence very unusual, is that this takyeb is constructed using both the Tibetan knot and the ‘Chinese’ knot (that is the knot used in the rest of China, and most of the rug world; the ‘Tibetan’ knot being unique in its own right so to speak). This can be seen by comparing the two top close-up photos (each one square inch) of the back-side of the takyeb at the top of the two right hand columns; the one on the right shows the Tibetan knot, while the one on the left shows the ‘Chinese knot. As can be seen the distinctive Tibetan knot exposes just a larger single ‘nodule’ (i.e. one half of a Tibetan knot) while the smaller tighter ‘Chinese’ knot shows the double ‘noduled’ shape (i.e. both halves or sides of the one knot) of their knotting style. This difference can be seen in the other photos of the back side, with the rows of the larger and looser Tibetan knot standing out quite a bit bigger than the rows of the more tightly woven smaller ‘Chinese’ knot. This is the first and only example of any Tibetan or Chinese ‘rug’ I have ever seen with such a mixture of knots (as piled weaving’s are usually made with one or the other knot, not both / mixed). This suggests it was possibly woven by two different weavers doing several rows at a time when they had the spare time whilst on the move (i.e. whilst moving long distances in a pack-train caravan), or by nomads. After all, these takyebs were not originally made for resale but for personal use, so the weavers (of this piece anyway) obviously did not place any great import in what knot they used. And as can be seen in one of the above lower photos, the thicknesses of the cotton strands in the warp and weft varies to a considerable degree, which may point to at least some of them having been hand spun. Recent provenance tracing has found that this piece was originally sourced in the historical far north-eastern Tibetan region of Amdo, which is now part of the Chinese province of Qinghai; and came into western hands in the early 1980’s. Being made in this ‘border’ region may explain the oddity of its knotting. A unique and interesting piece!

SIZE: 0.25m high x 0.24m wide (at top)

WARP: cotton

WEFT: cotton

KNOT COUNT: varies depending on knot ‘type’

error: Content is protected !!