The field of this carpet is devoid of any other ornamentation apart from an overall swastika motif that has been rotated on the diagonal and conjoined to form what appears to be a fret-work screen. The swastika was widely used in ancient times as a symbol of prosperity and good fortune and also symbolised the revolving sun, fire, or life. One of the oldest known examples was painted on a paleolithic cave at least 10,000 years ago. In Buddhism, a blue swastika motif represents the infinite celestial virtues and when translated from the Sanskrit it means; "conducive to well-being".
This motif appeared on early Kangxi period (1662-1722) Ningxia weavings but was often accompanied by a small bat which was overlaid at various intervals (see M.S.Dimand and J. Mailey, Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1973, p.308; Moshe Tabibnia, Intrecci Cinesi: Antica Arte Tessile XV-XIX, Milan, 2011, No.17, pp.136-7, M. Franses and H. König, Glanz Himmelssohne, Kaiserliche Teppiche aus China 1400-1750, Textile Art Publications, London 2005, nos.41-46, pp.124 -133). Of the cited examples there is only one carpet, formerly in the Frank Michaelian Collection, New York and now in a private Italian collection (König, op.cit. no.43), where the swastika fret-work has been rotated to appear on a diagonal axis similar to the present lot. The border design of the present carpet also differs from the previously cited examples which all use a repetitive swastika border, whereas ours uses a simplified linked inverted 'T'-motif similar to a K'ang-hsi period rug in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (M.S.Dimand, op.cit. fig.267, p.308).
The long proportions of the present carpet significantly exceed many of its contemporaries. We know of one slightly earlier Ningxia carpet of 'The Hundred Antiques' design that is relatively close in length at nearly 19ft. that sold in these Rooms, 17 October 2002, lot 62.