Imperial Cut Silk Velvet and Metal-Thread Kang Carpet

Imperial Cut Silk Velvet and Metal-Thread Kang Carpet

Early 18th Century
Silk Velvet
75″ x 142″

A Large and Rare Imperial Cut Silk Velvet and Metal-Thread Kang Carpet from the Qing Dynasty, Yongzheng Period

This magnificent carpet is composed of three joined panels of rich amber-colored cut and uncut silk velvet with a central medallion surrounded by four peach-colored peony blossoms and leafy scrolls. The entirety is enclosed in a border of fretwork, scrolling lotus blossoms, and confronting dragons. The piece is lined.

These luxurious carpets, also called palace hangings or dais covers, were employed in the most luxurious settings during the Yongzheng Period. An overall symmetrical design made it possible to hang or drape them in multiple ways and for them to adorn furniture or floors, depending upon the season. Though they are rare, examples with other motifs exist, suggesting that wealthy families would sometimes commission their own designs. However, the yellow-ground carpets employing a dragon motif, as seen in this example, were reserved for the Emperor.

Having remained in an old California residence, where it hung for at least three generations, this example is remarkably well-preserved.

Closely related kang carpets, or fragments of kang velvet carpets, can be found in a number of museum collections. In particular, there is a fragmentary velvet panel in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of art with similar fretwork, chrysanthemum, and foliate dragon motifs, which was shown in the exhibition, “Costumes and Accessories of the Qing Dynasty (1644?1911),” August 8, 2007-October 28, 2007.

Another similar example can be found in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art:

Lined and prepared for hanging.