Lion-dogs, Hundred Antiques
Classical Chinese Carpets 1

Textile & Art Publications, 2000

 Please click on the illustrations and key-words to view full images and extracts from the text

Plate 2 The Abadjian four lion-dogs dais cover, Ming dynasty, first half of the 17th century (detail)

  When one thinks of the serenity and beauty of Chinese art, one immediately conjures up visions of fine paintings and porcelain, outstanding bronzes, pottery, ivory, jade and wood carving. For classical woollen carpets, the finely knotted pile and sumptuous colours of Persia, Turkey, the Caucasus or Central Asia instinctively come to mind, although the carpet-making belt stretched much further, from the Moroccan and Spanish shores of the Atlantic to the Yellow Sea. Yet the carpet literature often ignores carpets from the Celestial Empire. When China is included, examples from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are usually illustrated: but these represent a period when the craft was in full production and the art was effectively dead. Consequently, the greatest and most beautiful carpets of China, made between about 1500 and 1700, remain amongst the least well known.

Classical Chinese Carpets concentrates on this high period of textile art from the region, prior to the ascent of the Qing dynasty Qianlong emperor in 1735, when the carpets made were masterpieces of both art and technique. The classical carpets of China possess a sense of balance and harmony that is unmatched. The versatility of colours, design and weaving seen on the surviving examples shows that their weavers were among the most highly skilled and sophisticated craftsmen in the history of carpet making. Some six hundred carpets from this era are known: divided into a number of groups, all the most beautiful examples of this art form will be presented. Classical Chinese Carpets will be an essential publication not just for lovers of Asian and textile art but also for connoisseurs of art in general.  

Plate 8 The Larsson lion-dog medallion with 'hundred antiques' platform cover, Qing dynasty, first half of the 18th century (detail)



Plate 17 The Kelekian 'hundred antiques' day-bed cover, Qing dynasty, second half of the 17th century (detail)

  This first volume of the series, Lion-dogs, Hundred Antiques, considers just two designs from the wide variety of striking patterns that were used. The lion-dog, often depicted as a rather playful animal chasing an embroidered ball, has an important place in the repertoire of Chinese art. It was an emblem of valour, courage, energy and wisdom. The 'hundred antiques' also played a major symbolic role: rooted in Confucianism, with its constant references to the past, they were emblems of cultural accomplishment for the learned gentleman, carrying with them their owner's aspirations for status and happiness.

The volume opens with a preface by Hans König, a leading authority on Chinese carpets. Two essays by prominent scholars provide the historical background for the symbols: Hwee Lie Thè traces the lion-dog throughout the ages; Gary Dickinson investigates the use of the 'hundred antiques' design. Three further essays have been written by Michael Franses: A brief introduction to classical Chinese carpets; The lion-dog carpets; and The 'hundred antiques' carpets.

Large format, high-quality colour reproductions illustrate twenty-five of the finest and most beautiful Chinese carpets with lion-dog and 'hundred antiques' designs from both museum and private collections.


Plate 24 The Beijing 'hundred antiques' carpet, Qing dynasty, first half of the 18th century (detail)


Plate 25 The Clarke 'hundred antiques' in cartouches carpet, Qing dynasty, first half of the 18th century (detail)



Classical Carpets of China will fill a significant gap in oriental art history. The volumes will demonstrate clearly the differences between the decorative reproductions made for mass markets from the middle of the eighteenth century onwards and the earlier masterpieces. With illustrations and archive information drawn from more than thirty years of research, each book will bring knowledge and appreciation of this magnificent art form to a wider audience.

Published by Textile & Art Publications Ltd, London, 2000
- Large format, 348 x 250 mm (14 x 10 in)
- 96 pages, hardbound in linen with colour jacket
- high quality colour reproduction on art paper
- 27,000-word text, including essays by leading authorities, with extensive notes and bibliography, and structural analyses
- 52 illustrations, including 25 carpets in full colour plates

ISBN: 978-1-898406-30-3

Buy Now

Available direct from the publishers
Textile & Art Publications
Unit 4 Heron Trading Estate, Alliance Road, London W3 0RA, England
Tel (44-20) 8896 3238




return to: BOOKS | textile-art

all text and illustrations © textile-art 1999-2003: not to be reproduced without permission.