Rug Origins: China Rugs and the Art Deco Movement

Last updated on: May 13, 2024

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Rug Origins: China Rugs and the Art Deco Movement

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Historical records show that China rugs were already being used in China’s imperial courts and royal homes about 2,000 years ago. However, experts also say rug-making in the country only began in the 15th century which means the first rugs the Chinese used were probably of Persian origin. This is not surprising to know since they were considered great merchants who traveled all across Asia trading different kinds of wares and goods.

Remarkably, despite a late entry into the rug-weaving business, Chinese rugs became popular for the distinct patterns they used which appealed greatly to Western countries. Unlike intricate designs that appear in Middle Eastern rugs, carpets woven in China are considered much simpler; repeating figures of lotus, chrysanthemum, and natural landscapes. The more lavish rugs feature mythical creatures like dragons, flying serpents as well as religious symbols.

Another unique aspect of Chinese rugs is its evolution from being traditional into purposely manufactured for mainstream commercial use that made ‘Chinese Art Deco’ rugs famous. In the early 1900s, an American named Walter Nichols set up several factories in China to produce rugs that catered to the rising demand for art deco design in European countries. This sparked other weavers and traders to cash in on the trend which is why there are basically two types of antique Chinese rugs in circulation today; the traditional two-toned carpet and the more vibrant Chinese Art Deco rug.

Indeed, China rugs have become synonymous with Oriental carpets despite the undying popularity of Persian-made rugs. They offer simplicity yet the colors and designs are bold enough to make a statement in whatever living space they are placed on. 

Author: Carlo Vincent Mollenido

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