Chinese Rugs


Chinese Rugs

Chinese rugs, while being woven in China two thousand years ago, never really developed their industry until sometime around the mid-eighteenth century. Chinese rugs made there way into the mainstream market by the early to mid 1860's, when many workshops began springing up in the  Beijing area that began aggressively making rugs that were initially commissioned by the imperial court. Chinese rugs finally found their way into the American market somewhere around the 1920's and 30's. Chinese rug styles were varied and were being produced in places such as the Hebel and Shandong provinces. These hand-woven works of art were carefully monitored and supervised by foreign companies which maintained strict control of the entire phase of production.

Chinese rug production took a dramatic turn between the 1950's and 60's and it was during this time period the Chinese government took over the carpet factories. Chinese rug quality was strictly maintained as the production of thick, lustrous, carved rugs made in a variety of designs and pastel colors was stepped up. In fact, most continue to be made in state-owned co-operatives in and around Tianjin. Common qualities are "70 line" (34 knots per sq. in.) and "90 line" (56 knots per sq. in.). Value is determined by not only knot count, but by thickness as well. Thickness is rated by increments such as 3/8, 5/8, etc. Design detail, age and coloration are also indicators determining how valuable a particular piece is. Interestingly, around the end of 1980, some factories began to produce more finely woven rugs in the very popular 'Persian' patterns. In qualities like "160 line" (177 knots per sq. in.) and finer, these "Sino-Persian" rugs have intricate floral patterns, pastel colorations, and closely-clipped nap.

Chinese rug designs have always been inspired by the traditional Buddhist and Taoist religious influences on the individual artisans. The natural designs of the plant and animal world found their way from the imagination of the weaver onto  a pastel field of ivory, peach or light green. The center medallions would invariably feature dragon motifs or floral  arrangements generously colored with tasteful shades and hues that nicely complimented the border design. What really sets these apart though involves the meticulous carving which separates not only the intricate border and medallion from the field, but also the different colors from one another creating a truly remarkable and treasured work of art.

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