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Chinese Peking Carpet
This carpet is an early 20th century Peking interpretation of a late 18th century Ningxia (north central China) design. The ruby-red field displays an allover pattern of symmetrised lotus palmettes connected by a scrolling split arabesque, the so-called Ru-yi Sceptre arabesque. The matching red main border is also in the classic Ningxia style with paeony palmettes connected by a dark blue arabesque with emerging dragon heads. This latter motif goes back to the 17th century on extant rugs. The weave is close, the wool originated in Mongolia or Tibet, and the handle is pliable yet firm. Chinese carpet designers have constantly taken inspiration from earlier carpets as well as textiles, metalwork and ceramics. Here the field design ultimately derives from Ming Dynasty silk brocades. The vivid and saturated colour scheme is, however, more suited to modern taste. In period Chinese carpets the red tends more to an orange, cinnabar hue and tends to change over time to a rich golden yellow.