TYPE: A short Tibetan ‘runner’ from the Wangden valley region

CIRCA: late 1800’s

A “warp-faced-back” runner (long carpet) woven in the Wangden valley region of Tibet. Given the colours, this thick heavy carpet with its red ladder-like design on a simple yellow background was most likely woven specifically for monks to sit on in a monastery. These thick sturdy carpets were perfect for long periods of meditation or discourse as they provided the maximum seating insulation when placed upon cold floors. Note the intriguing asymmetric design of the red ‘ladder’ at either end, i.e. how the ‘ladder’s’ upper-most red rung is ‘closed’ across the top (in main photo), yet ‘open’ across the bottom. This is not a repair or pile reweave, as can be determined by the two top and bottom close-up comparison photos – where the white dots show the exact same location top and bottom. As can be seen there is no repair anywhere in those or the adjacent rows of weave in the carpet, the asymmetric red ladder design was intended to be like that. This gives rise to the possibility of it being the shortened half of a longer runner that had a mirror image design on the other half (see example bottom right as to what the original may have looked like); or maybe it was just a carpet of similar dimensions as is seen here that has had one end replied because that end had been damaged. The construction is of fine hand-spun wool and yak hair and all the dyes are natural. What may appear to be a dirty or stained horizontal line across the center of the carpet is simply intermittent tufts of brown undyed wool that have been woven into the pile when it was made (see close-up of a small section of that area above). Other than the replied shortened end (that can be identified in the folded over photo of the carpet) there are no repairs or reweaves anywhere else to the main body of the carpet.

SIZE: 2.10m x 0.97m inc fringe

WARP: wool and yak hair

WEFT: wool


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