You didn't choose bad, because
carpet in catalog number 2 was holded in Mona Bismark collection and after
in the Wher collection. Now in MATAM Museum, Milan. As Hans Konig explains
in the catalog, it belongs to a number of very important Palace carpets,
recently identified, woven for the Imperial Palace in Peking. Usually they
had really impressive measures as 9x11 metres, the biggest known is 398,5
square metres! They adorned the Imperial halls to embellish and cover many
furnitures/pillars/walls/thrones so that we can have many shapes. From the
XVIII they were more and more used by noble and rich people. Some of them
are in western Museums or collection, but the most are still in
They have some common features: a rough weave, sometimes silk
structure, wool pile, decorative patterns bigger than those in Ningxia
items and typical designs.
All the preparation steps were organized in
a specific laboratory in Peking, and, if weared, a perfect copy was
Regarding the motifs (here lotus flowers with irregular vines
and forked leaves) it results the opposite influence: from China to
In many Chinese artistic media well before Tibet became a
unified empire(VIIth cent) are found flowers, vegetal and animal forms
which became more and more codified from T'ang and Song Dinasty. The Mings
(1368-1644) had a further influence on later decorative Chinese forms, but
always in the tradition path. Besides China was having for many periods a
power control on Tibet by resident Governors. Tom Cole has written some
very interesting assays on the real "Tibetan" etnic nature and relative
decorative/symbolic forms before the arrival of Buddhism (VIIth cent,), of
Chinese, Mongol, Yuan and Uighur Turks.
In the catalog there is a
specific image of a porcelain bowl from Yongle reign (1403-1424) with the
same floral pattern, round flowers binded by spiral vines and forked
leaves (blu and white).
During Ming and Mantchu reigns some motifs
were reserved to the Imperial family and his court and were strictly
codified in the Palace laboratories. These builded up the Imperial style,
which this carpet from Wanli reign (1573-1620) shows. In particular the
pattern is every time changing with a final very elegant effect of
The lotus flower in many variations is often used in the
imperial style and is symbol of purity.
In this carpet too sappan wood
dyes have been identified, and this let us imagine how different was its
final feature with a reddish field.
Regarding kang and khaden, they
were spreadly used in far east, from the Tarim Basin to China. I never
heard this tradition came first from Tibet. Anyway many of the extant
Palace and Ningxia carpets measure 2x4 metres (like this one) and were
made to cover the traditional kang, as you said, in the aristocrats houses
(H. Konig, in Catalog, pag. 30).