Category: Chinese Rugs

Weavings of Khotan

Located in the southern region of Xinjiang, the innermost of the trio of Silk Road Cities (with Kashagar and Yarkand), Khotan weaves carpets mostly in the 6’0″ x 12’0″ size.

These pieces have mostly recognizable Chinese iconography, borrow some central Asian elements (such as the gul), and are made with brighter colors and distinct wool and handle.

Later examples use synthetic dyes which have been treated to mellow the colors.  Although this later period is not collectible, it is much in demand decoratively.  The geometric designs and, and neutral tones, found in many Khotan rugs makes them a versatile option for modern decor.


A few smaller rugs and chair seat pieces (2′ square) are also encountered, as well as the occasional basket design or pictorial piece.

For more information on these rugs, please follow these links to our website:







Antique Rugs of China: Art Deco

The term Art Deco refers to the style launched at the 1925 Paris World’s Fair Exhibition of Modern and Industrial Decorative Art.  Woven between the wars for the Western Market by mostly American owned firms, especially Nichols and Fette, Chinese Art Deco rugs (as the name implies) were made in thick heavy weaves using strong colors, assymetric patterns, and downplaying the Chinese-ness of the carpet.

Nichols rugs are more strong toned than the pastel Fette.  In 1924 W. A. B. Nichols introduced the now world renowned “Super Chinese Rug”. These rugs were known in most markets as the most durable and beautiful product of the modern Chinese weavers art.  The reason that Nichols Super Rugs may have been so unique to themselves, is that every last part of the process was done by Nichols Company, in house.  Most were woven in the coastal port city of Tiensin, though other lesser known workshops were also active.


Helen Fette initially went to China as a missionary, selling small rugs to raise funds for various charities. Teaming up with Chinese rug manufacturer Li Meng Shu to form the Fette-Li Company, the pair started producing rugs out of the Peking area in the early 1920s, becoming one of the largest exporters of the period. Fette rugs usually have a floppy feel because the cotton warps are thinner and more pliable than those used in Nichols carpets, resulting in a soft, limber feel.  Many of the designs, over viewed by Fette, were taken from Chinese emroidery, or inspired by traditional Chinese motifs.

Both Fette and Nichols companies used fabric tags on the back of their rugs for identification purposes. Nichols also stamped “handwoven in China by Nichols” onto the backside of the fringe, however if the fringe has worn or been repaired, the mark will be absent. Because Fette and Nichols were so closely associated with the Deco period, rugs woven in their trademark style, without any identifying marks, are routinely referred to as Fette or Nichols style.

Some pieces are ultra-geometric and haute-Deco moderne in character: these are very rare.

More frequent are pieces with bits of Chinese ornament: vases or other precious objects, paeonies, vines, fences, etc.

  Most common is the 9’0″ x 12’0″ size, in colors never found in mainstream Chinese rugs: backgrounds in black, mauve, purple, hot pink, orange, olive, employing the best synthetic chrome dyes of the period.  Prices are still reasonable and carpets in top condition are available.

to view these rugs on our website, please use the following links:




Antique Carpets of China: NingXia

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.

to view these rugs on our website, please use the following links:


Mongolian Weavings

The exact source of carpets termed “Mongolian” is unclear.  Certainly these carpets were woven in the Chinese style, with their fret borders, shou medallions, and other far-eastern motifs.  Mongolian rugs, however, are bolder and simpler, course of weave with a peculiar rough, hairy, pile that does not take dyes the way purely Chinese pieces do.  Traditionally, these rugs were dyed only with organic colors derived from indigo, saffron, sumac, turmeric and pomegranate.


The overall look is somehow provincial.  Sizes tend to the square with 10′ x 10′ being especially popular.  All pieces available in the current market seem to be 19th Century.  Few, if any, earlier carpets of this kind are actually preserved, but are represented in illuminated Chinese manuscripts, appearing similar to examples available today.

Most Mongolian rugs have a high percentage of open space, with even the decorative elements often showing the plain ground through their design.  What they lack in finesse compared to Peking, or even NingXia pieces, is however compensated by a direct, unmediated approach with no extraneous elements.

to view these rugs on our website, use the following links:






Chinese – NingXia: circa 1750

Chinese, Ning Xia, Platform Carpet
3.99m x 4.06m (13’1” x 13’4”)
2nd half of the18th century.


Warp: Cotton, white, natural, Z-4-S
Weft: Cotton, white, natural, Z-4, 2 shoots alternating
Pile: Wool, Z-3 or Z-4, asymmetric knot, 4-5 h. x 6½v. = 27 – 33/in²
Sides: 2 body wraps weft attached and weft wrapped thinly
Ends: No original finish.

This piece has a very close parallel in David Franses’s, Lion-Dog and 100 Antiques Rugs, pl.15, Thyssen – Bornemisza Coll., a platform carpet 3.53 x 3.86m. Both employ a multi-colored cloud wreath surrounding a central rounded medallion of large lion–dog and several cavorting smaller ones. The fields are a similar salmon, but the T-B. piece uses precious objects instead of clouds and lion-dogs; the peonies are virtually identical. The overall effect is quite close. The T.B. piece uses large flower scroll corners instead of close fret scrolls, and in the former they are en-suite with the middle narrow border, which, in turn resembles both inner and main stripes to varying degrees. The T.B. example, however, uses a 3-dimensional swastika fret stripe and an inner band with running dog fret. The other stripe is plain brown in contrast to plain blue in our piece. The knot count in the T.-B. ex. is 6 x 6 = 36/in², roughly in line with ours and characteristic of the period.

The medallion re-appears almost exactly on Franses pl. 14, a lion-dog rug ex. Andonian coll., 2.2 x 3.7m (7.2 x 12.1) with similar wreath and dog-filled roundel, but the field is a diagonal tone-on-tone fret pattern with scattered cranes and peonies. The main border is close to ours, but yellow rather than blue, and there is a swastika fret inner stripe. The other surround is plain blue. Franses dates it similarly, second half of the 18th century. No. structural analysis is given except to indicate cotton foundation, wool pile.

The cloud wreath surrounding a lion-dog medallion seems to be characteristic of large pieces in the second half of the 18th century.

To view this piece on our website, please use the following link:


#19647 Khotan | As Seen in Rooms With a View

Rug #: 19647

Type: Khotan

Origin: China

Size: 4’8″ x 7’7″

Circa: 1920

When George Marshall Peters of Pamela Bankers office asked if we would be interested in participating in their Rooms  With a View show space we were delighted. The vignette that George had planned out was influenced by a recent trip to Asia, and included a piece of art from his own collection.  The painting contained delicate cranes upon a golden ground, with a rice paper feel, which strongly influenced the rest of the design – and screamed to be accompanied by a soft toned Asian carpet.

With a small (approximately 8′ square) floorplan, wallpaper samples, photos of the furniture, and the feeling of the central art piece in mind, George and I began our search.  Though we pulled a few other options out that could have worked, it was clear that a warm, traditional Chinese piece was the best way to go for the space he imagined.

Photo via MANUFOTO

While George had originally nixed this Khotan as an option due to it’s size, Ramin and I knew it was a great match for the look he was going for.  Many designers will rule out perfectly fitted rugs based on architectural lines drawn on paper, rather than trying the rug in the space.  Upon sight of this carpet though, George agreed to see if it would fit, without making the room feel cramped.

Photo via MANUFOTO

Though the Khotan does fit wall to wall, the vignette was a huge success, each element falling into place beautifully – the carpet really completing the conversation between the other components of the room.  The golden neutral tones of the rug were woven in beautifully with the naturally textured wallpaper and golden collectables placed about, the earthy browns complimenting the darkness of the floor and furniture, and the subtle geometry pulling in the small geometric art elements that George used in perfecting the details of this space.

Rug of the Week


Antique Ningxia Chinese Carpet

10.8 by 12.0

  1. 1800

We  LOVE Chinese carpets.  Absolutely.

Rahmanan has the largest collection of Antique Chinese Rug and Carpets in New York. In America. In the world. In the galaxy. In the universe. Period.

A prime example is our recent acquisition number 23362, an over square  antique Chinese Ningxia carpet with a delectable salmon-pink field, and lotus of paeonies and lotuses as decorative motives. Not to mention fluttering butterflies. The delightfully intense salmon-rose field was produced by a naturally fugitive vegetable dye and it is very rare to find the colour so well preserved. In the center of the field is a medallion composed of an outer lotus wreath and an inner roundel with a flowering prunus branch, with en suite lotus corners. Paeony stems with white or dark blue flowers are strewn about the field. More lotuses appear in the well-executed navy main border.

Pink rugs are supposed not to sell. But this is no ordinary pink and no ordinary rug. The condition is exceptional for something of this age and the wider than tall format is equally unusual.

The texture is soft and the handle flexible. It has had no restorations or repairs.

The carpet screams ‘elegant’, but not fussy or busy. Of course, the perfect accompaniment is classic antique  Chinese huanghuali or zitan furniture, but what a splash of colour this antique Chinese carpet makes in a contemporary interior. Chinese pinks are like no others, rich yet mellow, saturated yet warm.  Amazingly, this carpet is modern and simultaneously so antique.

The square dimensions make it particularly versatile, either as a neat room filler or as a spectacular accent area rug in a loft.

This carpet is one of many exceptional square large antique Chinese Ningxia carpets in our inventory, ranging up to about eighteen feet on a side. Nobody else has this kind of depth of collection. Consult our website  for further examples.

Rug #23362 Chinese Ningxia 12’0″ x 10’8