Woven for both the imperial court and nobility, Qing dynasty rugs were often made for a specific place or function. Based on the highly symbolic motifs used, this exceptional Chinese rug was probably made as a dais or platform cover that typically would have been reserved for an important guest. The crane and deer roundels, as well as the ruyi-form clouds appear to be fairly unusual decoration for Kangxi period carpets. However, the lotus scroll border is similar to that on a larger carpet with a central field of floral roundels, included in the exhibition, Glanz der Himmelssöhne Kaiserliche Teppiche Aus China, Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst, Köln, London, 2005, p. 98, no. 25. Compare, also, another Kangxi carpet decorated with two cranes in flight superimposed on a ground of stylized clouds sold in these rooms, 16 September 1998, lot. 42.
The reign of the Kangxi emperor (1662-1722) was a period of great achievement for all the arts, and carpets woven during this period are celebrated for their harmony and proportion both in coloration and size. Interestingly, Michael Franses notes in Lion-dogs, Hundred Antiques: Classical Chinese Carpets I, London, 2000, p. 14, that between 1909 and 1920 about 1,650 'antique' Chinese rugs were offered for sale in various auctions in New York and most were in near-perfect condition, ibid., p. 14. Louis Comfort Tiffany, John Kimberley Mumford and Thomas B. Clarke were among the early important collectors of Chinese Classical carpets. Today, only 400 carpets are attributable to the Kangxi period and most are in distressed or fragmentary condition.