Relative to China’s millennia-old history, carpet production is a recent phenomenon. It is thought that production began in the 16th century via Turkmenistan, Tibet and Mongolia. The emperor Chien Lung married a princess from Turkmenistan in the 1700s. During this period, the Chinese carpets experienced their golden age. The technique developed back then was largely the same as the one used today. The most important carpet producing centres in China were Beijing, Shanghai and Tientsin. Until recently, production of hand-knotted carpets took place in factories, which at times could employ over a thousand employees. The wool in the pile is generally good and with long fibres. The yarn is machine spun and dyed with synthetic dyes. The patterns on the Chinese carpets can often be taken from old silk materials that were produced a long time ago. They may also be inspired by ceramics, lacquer and other forms of handicraft. Chinese patterns are usually designed with a strict geometric foundation. China has had significant carpet production. Today, copies are being made of Persian and Turkish patterns, in particular silk carpets that resemble those from Qum in Iran and Hereke in Turkey. The production of carpets in China is quickly declining since it is getting harder to find people who are able and willing to carry out the knotting work. Today, there are many other significantly easier ways for Chinese workers to earn money.
You are reading an extract from the book ‘Oriental Carpets, Knottet with Love’ by Martin Munkholm.
This extensive book about all that is carpets can be borrowed in Danish libraries or be bought following this link: http://www.belle-rugs.dk/dk/ekspertise/taeppebog/
The book is published by Muusmann Forlag.
For more info: muusmann-forlag.dk
You can find our selection of Chinese carpets underneath.