A SILK AND METALLIC THREAD 'NINE DRAGON' CARPET
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE PENNSYLVANIA COLLECTION
A SILK AND METALLIC THREAD 'NINE DRAGON' CARPET

LATE 19TH CENTURY

Details
A SILK AND METALLIC THREAD 'NINE DRAGON' CARPET
LATE 19TH CENTURY
The central field is woven with a central, front-facing five-clawed dragon confronting a flaming pearl, surrounded by eight further side-facing dragons chasing further pearls amidst multi-colored clouds, all on a metallic ground and surrounded by a lishui border. A five-character mark, Zhongzhengdian beiyong, is at one end.
99 ½ in. (252.7 cm.) x 60 in. (152.4 cm.)
Provenance
Beshar's, New York, 1979.

Brought to you by

Michael Bass
Michael Bass

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Lot Essay

Contemporary Western scholarship has traditionally placed these silk and metallic thread carpets as late 19th or early 20th century, based on the dyes and weave. Most carpets woven during the late 19th century are copies of earlier carpets, yet there are no known examples of Chinese silk carpets with similar designs, let alone examples with metallic thread, from the 17th century or earlier. One wonders if they did exist and are now either destroyed or not yet discovered.

The inscription on the present carpet suggests that it was a subsidiary carpet for the use of Zhongzhengdian (The Hall of Rectitude) complex inside the Forbidden City. The complex used to hold Tibetan Buddhist shrines and was considered as the "nucleus of Tibetan Buddhist activities at court" at the time.


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