China is an East Asian country and an old civilisation with a strong cultural and artistic identity that spans millennia. The silkworm was first cultivated by the imperial court and noblewomen in China in 2640 BCE.
After several centuries, silk became a lucrative product and was used in garment making, which revolutionised Chinese trade. The historical Silk Road was constructed during the Han Dynasty, which ruled from 206 BCE to 220 CE and advanced China by facilitating trade between the Middle East and Europe.
Rugs from the second century BCE have been discovered in recent excavations in western China. In the market, there are knotted piled carpets from China dating back to the sixteenth century. Tibetan weavers are credited with spreading rug-making processes and designs to mainland China. Piled carpets were produced early in the Tibetan region of southwestern China, and Tibetan weavers are credited with introducing rug-making techniques and designs to mainland China.
A series of Imperial carpets were manufactured for the Forbidden City palaces during the late Ming Dynasty (mid-sixteenth to mid-seventeenth century), several of which are preserved in Beijing's Palace Museum. For the royal court, these carpets were produced in gigantic sizes. It's unclear where they were manufactured, although they're thought to have been woven in a Beijing studio or in Ningxia, in western China.
Baotou, Kansu, Ningxia, Peking, and Tientsin were all-important weaving centres in China. Kashgar, Khotan, and Yarkand, historical eastern Turkestan cities that manufactured popular carpets beginning in the seventeenth century, were conquered by China in 1884.
The earliest rugs for the royal court were created in China a long time ago. It was around 2,000 years ago at the time. Porcelain painting or silk weaving designs determine the antique rugs. Dragons that look particularly menacing, for example, have Taoist and Buddhist inspirations.
Modern knotting techniques are used to create carpets that are orientated to Persian models. Chinese rugs are quite durable, as they are made of industrially produced wool and treated with chrome colours. The big cities of Beijing and Tianjin are the main centres of production. Smaller production facilities can be found in other areas. Ningxia or Beijing are two common rug names.
Rugs from Manchuria, Mongolia and Xinjiang are also considered to be Chinese. Northern China was the primary source of rugs. Around 100 BCE, a Chinese saddle blanket from Lop Sanpra was discovered. A few piled rugs from the Ming era have been found. China's domestic piled rug production was minimal until around 1890 when export production began. Ningxia, Baotou, Suiyuan and the cities of Gansu are among the rug-weaving centres that predate rug production for export.
Mongolian traditional rugs are quilted felt rugs (shirdeg or toiruulga). There are felt tent flaps and mats that are similar (olbog). It is highly speculative to attribute antique piled carpets (xives) to Mongolia. The first rugs with this designation are from the nineteenth century. These rugs are influenced by Chinese design. The field is made up of little geometrical motifs that are arranged in a dense pattern all over. Spandrels may be used in some designs. The predominant hues are red and pink. Rugs are small in size. The basis is cotton, and the knot is asymmetric.
There are no warp offsets and double wefts are used. A piled rug factory was established in Ulan Bator, the capital, in 1925. Low-quality piled carpets in Chinese designs with very brilliant colours on a cotton substrate are currently being produced.
Rug production for export began in Beijing late in the nineteenth century and in Tianjin around the turn of the century. Foreign enterprises came to dominate the Chinese rug industry, and Tianjin became the hub of large-scale commercial production from 1910 to 1930. The United States was the leading importer of Chinese rugs in the early twentieth century. The year 1925 was the zenith of rug manufacturing and export to the United States. The Japanese invasion in the early 1930s put a stop to rug manufacture.
Commercial production on a large scale did not resume until the 1960s.
During the 1920s, Helen Fette, often known as "Fette Chinese," directed the production of a new style of carpet for the American market in eastern China. Fette, an American who was once a missionary in China, founded the Fette-Li Company in Peking with Chinese carpet producer Li Meng Shu. Vases, flowers, floral bouquets, blooming branches, birds and butterflies are among the motifs found on the carpets, which are usually open-field types. The rugs were made of excellent, gleaming wool with a thick pile. The foundation technique used by Fette-Li products was lighter than that used by Nichols Chinese carpets.
The field and border colours of Fette carpets found in the ancient rug market are mainly maroon, ivory, or dark and light blues. Green, yellow, brown, black, grey, pink, lavender and turquoise were also used for design elements and, on occasion, for the background and borders, in addition to these hues.
China began producing a new line of carpets with gleaming wool and a high pile in the 1960s. The French Savonnerie Carpets' style, which was popular in the American market, was a popular design. To make the designs stand out, weavers trimmed around flower motifs.
These carpets were advertised as "70 line" "90 line" and "120 line" Chinese carpets, depending on their quality. The number of knots in a linear foot is represented by the line count; the higher the number, the finer the rug.
In the last quarter of the twentieth century, the People's Republic of China opened up commerce to the world market, and carpet production increased dramatically across the country. In addition to the historical weaving centres, several towns and cities began mass-producing carpets, making China the world's largest supplier of Oriental carpets.
Handwoven and machine-made Chinese Aubusson design rugs and French Aubusson carpets are available nowadays in limited supply.