The Western Chinese province of NingXia has a mostly Muslim population and is the source of many of the oldest Chinese carpets of the modern era (Ming Dynasty and later).
The designs are typically Chinese: fretwork or Greek key borders, paeony palmettes, bats, butterflies, Fu Dogs, clouds, dragons, shou symbols, etc. Pillar carpets designed to wrap around monastery columns and displaying a dragon above waves are a specialty.
The weave is course and soft, with several wefts between knot rows, and a longish pile. Yellow golds, dark and light blues are common colors. The outermost plain border on pre-1800 examples is a corrosive brown. Formats include large square “throne” carpets, parallel meditation runners, chair seats, and scalloped backs.
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Research & writing by Peter Saunders, edited by Katrina Mauro.