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Rug, Qing dynasty


Rug, Qing dynasty, approx. 17001800. China; Ningxia. Wool. The Avery Brundage Collection, B61M13+.

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Most of the floors in the imperial palace in Beijing are tile or stone, so rugs provided welcome relief during the long, cold winters. Rugs were used for more than just covering floors, they also decorated columns and other architectural elements. Most were wool and were made in the northwestern province of Ningxia. They tend to feature large, bold designs in red, blue, or brown on a yellow background. As with other court arts, these designs are filled with images of power and good luck. This large example features a dragon, symbol of imperial power.