Areas of reweaving and reknotting
7'1" x 12'5"
This exceptional carpet was woven in the Tarim Basin area of what is now the Chinese autonomous region of Xinjiang, most probably in the vicinity of the ancient Silk Road city of Khotan. Weavings from the oasis cities of this region combine Chinese and local design elements and are often informed by models from further west in Central Asia and beyond. The open blue field of this piece is both visually moving and remarkably rare. Most Khotan carpets utilize a red field and are drawn with either a column of small medallions or allover floral and vegetal patterns. The small solitary rosette surrounded by a garland drawn in the center of this piece is a device more typically seen as part of an overall design. The colorful larger blossoms floating at the top and bottom portions of the field may be unprecedented. Latch hooks (or rams’ horns) extending from the side of this piece are reminiscent of similar devices used to demarcate the sides of fields in rugs from Anatolia, the Caucasus and parts of Central Asia. While the Muslim Turkic speaking population of Khotan and the region at large may have been familiar with these models, they have changed them in a remarkable way. They have transformed random latch hooks into large, colorful, vegetal stalks culminating in pomegranate corner pieces of a type seen in the late 18th and 19th centuries almost exclusively in weavings from this particular region. The main border draws a variant popularized in Chinese weaving of the Kangxi era (1654-1722) though its coloration. This border, as well as the rosette guard stripes on either side, is purely local and could never be confused with anything emanating from imperial Ch’ing Dynasty (1644-1912) production.