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Dragon and Horse Saddle Rugs

We fully recommend that anyone interested in a most fascinating book should acquire this quintessential volume on the study of Saddle Rugs. 

Dragon and Horse By Drs. Koos de Jong, The Netherlands  (info

A Comprehensive Study of Saddle rugs from Ningxia, Gansu, Inner Mongolia, and Tibet from the 5th Century BC with 288 Full Color Plates in English And Chinese!

A ‘Limited Edition Copy signed by the Author’ of this 2 volume set is available through this link to the authors website.

horse and dragon book cover

We actually have a few on hand in the US for immediate shipping if you contact us!

Antique Ningxia Chinese Pillar Rug 2’6” X 8’0” #8181

8181 Ningxia Pillar rug picture

This late 19th century Ningxia Chinese pillar rug in a dragon motif measures 2’6” X 8’0”. The bottom of the rug has the wave design capped by the sacred mountain. A blue winding dragon with a big wide tail and open mouth spewing smoke from its nose winds 2/3rds of the way up the rug through various Buddhist iconographies. The top of the rug contains a full face on devil head with horns. It has a minor border of pearl motif on a dark blue ground, then there is a Greek key border, then all is surrounded with a solid blue border. There is a single spot with knots eaten out easily repairable if you have the wool or otherwise the rug would need to go to Turkey if you’d like to have that spot repaired. The top of the rug has two color changes in the yellow that were most likely dye lot changes. The rug is clean and ready to go. The buyer pays the shipping with insurance of $75.00.

Vintage Art Deco Chinese Oriental Rug 9’0” X 11’7” #8186

8186 art deco rug image gold with dragons

This circa 1925 Art Deco Chinese handmade wool Oriental Rug measures 9’0” X 11’7”. It has an imperial gold field with five dragons. One is in the center looking straight out at the viewer and the other four are at each corner. Each has a long green scaled body surrounded by clouds in purple and grey. The minor border is in green with different colored clouds. It has a lavender border with butterflies and a floral design. This rug is very nicely drawn. It has good pile. There is a 2” X 2” spot of moth damage in the outer border at the center of the rug (pictured). The ends and sides are complete. It is clean and ready to go. The buyer pays the shipping with insurance of $150.00


Antique Art Deco Chinese Oriental Rug 8’0” X 9’10” #8159

cx10 chinese antique dragon carpet

This circa 1920 handmade wool Art Deco Chinese Oriental Rug measures 8’0” X 9’10”. It has a golden yellow brown field and an extremely interesting layout. There is a dragon at every corner looking out. In the middle of the rug there is a circular medallion consisting of two circling birds. The field is covered in Buddhist iconography such as the scroll, the inkpot, the fish and a few bats for luck. There are two minor borders. One is the pearl design on a medium blue ground and the other has a Greek key design on a grey ground. The major border has repeated images of Mogwa in blue, ivory and rust on a lilac ground. This rug is in good condition for its age. I’ve never owned a Chinese rug quite like this. It is very interesting and unique. The ends and sides are complete. It is clean and ready to go. The buyer pays the shipping with insurance of $125.00.

Antique Peking Chinese Oriental Rug 5’3” X 7’11” #8048

old antique peking chinese rug with dragons pictures

This late 19th century Peking Chinese Oriental Rug measures 5’3” X 7’11”. It has a sand colored background containing 2 facing dragons. Their scales are done in black. They have white horns and turquoise colored manes. They are five clawed dragons with pink tongues. At each end is a beautifully drawn vase containing large floral motifs sitting on peach colored tables. All is encompassed with a coal black border. The lower left corner has minor pile wear. The ends and sides are complete. It is clean and ready to go. The buyer pays the shipping with insurance of $75.00.


Antique Peking Chinese Rug 9’10’ x 13’7” #7605

7605 Peking Chinese rug

This circa 1880 Peking Chinese rug measures 9’10’ x 13’7” (299 x 416 cm). It has a very beautiful motif which is nicely drawn. It has a dark indigo field with floral designs at all four corners. The lower right and upper left have a cloud motif with floral sprays containing a full frontal bat for good luck. The lower left corner and upper right corner contain a floral design in light pink, silver gray, and three shades of blue with a butterfly hovering above looking for food. Scattered throughout the field are several bats, pairs of fruit and a Buddhist conch shell motif. The same design is catty corner from that at the other end. There are at least six large butterflies throughout the field and many cloudband designs in blue and ivory. The center motif is a pagoda which is reflected in water surrounded by lotus blossoms and ferns. This is nicely done. The major border is gray going to taupe consisting of a linked design of foliate dragons one after the other all around the rug in three colors of blue. There is a minor border on each side of this. One is ivory containing cloudband designs. There are a couple places, maybe three or four, which are low. There is no foundation showing. At the bottom of the rug in the taupe border there is a low area about 18” long. The ends and sides are complete. Considering that the rug is at least 125 years old, I think it is in good shape. It is oversized and quite lovely. The buyer pays the shipping which includes insurance of $200.

Antique European Velvet and Metal Tapestry 2’3” x 4’10” #7968

antique dragon tapestry europe image

This European Velvet and Metal Tapestry Table Runner measures 2’3” x 4’10”. It is most likely Austrian. It is composed of three pieces. There are two end pieces which are velvet and the center piece feels like linen or wool. The motif is two dragons facing each other with corners worked in a floral motif. The dragon bodies are worked in metal. There are parts of the dragons and flowers that look like silk. Each section is framed in a very nicely done metal work. The piece is in very good condition. This absolutely 19th century maybe older. The buyer pays for the shipping which includes insurance of $25.00.

Antique Amritsar Carpet 14’4” X 20’3”#7949

7949 amritsar rug images

This 1st half 20th century Amritsar Carpet from India measures 14’4” X 20’3”. This rug is unbelievable. It has an absolutely gigantic hunting scene. The aubergine field is covered in men on horses with bows, arrows, swords and falcons all out chasing lunch which is composed of various deer, antelope, elams, birds and a weirdly drawn phoenix bird or dragon. The hunters are all on different colored horses. Some hunters are fighting off leopards or tigers. One of the hunters has his pet dog on the saddle with him. A couple more have their dogs running along beside them. Birds are overhead in the trees. The horses and animals are beautifully drawn.

All is enclosed with a minor border of different cartouches. The major border is pistachio green and 2’ wide. The motif is composed of winged angels, some meditating with crossed legs. Some are facing each other talking. They are very well drawn and attractive. The outer border has a floral motif in the same aubergine color as the field.

The wool is very finely spun and the layout is gorgeous!

The rug is essentially in perfect condition. It is full pile with complete ends and sides. It is clean and ready to go. The buyer pays the shipping which includes insurance of $250.00.

Antique Peking Chinese Rug 9’1” X 11’’10” #7877

7877 Peking Chinese Rug

This third quarter 19th century Peking Chinese rug measures 9’1” X 11’’10” (277 x 363 cm). It has an old ivory colored field with a central medallion in the form of a floral wreath. The open center of the wreath contains a dragon coming up out of the sea beneath a very beautifully drawn phoenix bird. These two mythological animals represent yin and yang in Chinese mythology. The interpretation of this symbol is marital bliss. The Chinese people believe that the mating of the dragon and phoenix gave rise to the Chinese culture and country. The corners of the field are drawn in the same floral type as the wreath. The minor border is a lighter color than the field consisting of a modified Greek key surrounded by the same floral motif as in the field. Each one of these groupings is separated by an ornament. The major border is the same color as the field. The motif consists of blue phoenix birds with bright red waddles and cockscombs which seem to be winding in and out of the floral motif of meandering vines and flowers. This rug is sublime and beautiful. It is one of the most finely woven Peking rugs I have ever seen. It is 99% full pile and perfect. The ends and sides are complete. It is clean and ready to go. The buyer pays the shipping which includes insurance of $150.00

#7177 Melas Antique Turkish Rug 3’8″ X 4’10”

7177 melas rug

This circa 1825 Melas or Melez antique Oriental carpet measures 3’8” X 4’10”(115 x 152 cm). It has a tomato red prayer niche on an ivory ground with carnation motif in the spandrels.  It has two niche amulets. It has a tree of life/dragon motif in the center of the niche.  The minor border is a meandering vine with cherry red flower heads.  The next border out is a cross between meandering S and a bird motif.  It has a major border consisting of  large roses in aubergine connected with meandering carnation motif in ivory, red, blue and peach. The center of these rose devices in the border is usually filled with a six to eight pointed star.  These centers are very unusual in that they are a ram’s horn motif. All is on a very pale peach ground which is literally alive with scorpion motif in red and white in a very natural rendering. The outer border has rose heads on an ivory ground.  Given the rams head motif in the border and the nonexistent border solutions this rug that could be older than circa 1825.  It could be pushing 1800.  This rug has excellent pile, and the ends and sides are complete. It is clean and ready to go.  The buyer pays shipping with insurance of $75.00.

#7159 Antique Ningxia Chair Seat and Back 2’8″ X 5’0″

7159 Ningxia seat and back

This 19th century Ningxia seat and back woven as one piece measures 2’8’ x 5’0”. I have never run across the complete chair ensemble in one piece, and now that I see it, I believe this is how they were all originally woven.  I’m not sure this has even been used.  The design is nice with five full frontal dragons on the seat and the three (one full frontal and two side views) on the chair back. It is in full pile condition.It has complete ends and sides. It is clean and ready to go. The buyer pays the shipping of $50.

#6692 Antique Ningxia Pillar Rug 5’5″ X 7’10”

6692 ningxia

This third quarter 19th century Ningxia pillar rug measures 5’5” x 7’10”. It has two yellow robed monks blowing conch shell horns on a medium brown ground. The field motifs are cloud, endless knots, a pair of dragons, hanging lanterns across the top and a blue checkerboard fish in the center. There is wave and mountain design across the bottom and a modified Greek k key design across the very top. There is slight erosion in the field mostly confined to the brown. Five toed dragons point to possible Imperial use. The rug is in fantastic condition for its age. This is a great smallish size for a pillar rug. The ends and sides are complete. It is clean and ready to go. The buyer pays the shipping and insurance of $95.

#7118 Antique Ningxia Chinese Rug  4’4″ X 7’0″

7118 Ningxia

This late 19th century Ningxia measures 4’4’ x 7’0”. It has a navy blue ground with five dragons in yellow gold.   There are cloud motifs in red and gold    encompassed with a wave design border.   It has a sacred mountain motif in the four cardinal directions.  The rug shows wear as shown.  All in all, it is in good condition for its age.  This is a happy rug.   The buyer pays shipping with insurance of $75.

#7273 Antique Ningxia Rug 6’3″ X 9’2″

7273 Ningxia

This Ningxia Chinese Oriental rug measures 6’3” x 9’2”. It has 9 five toed dragons in blue on an orange gold ground. Sacred mountain meditation points quarter the rug and are in every corner, for a total of eight.  The minor border consists of blue waves encompassed by a a second minor border with various colored cartouches with various cloud motifs all enclosed with a major border in the wave motif.  The color palette consists of three shades of blue, to shades of green, silver, orange, and a very pale aubergine.  At the top of the rug is a blue cartouche consisting of three Chinese characters which say ‘Pavilion of Infinite Light’ which refers to a room in the Golden Pavilion in Yellow Monastery in the Forbidden City which was built to hold the remains of the sixth Panchen Erdeni  who died on the second day of the 11th month of the 45th year of the reign of Emperor Qianlong which relates to the year 1780.

The following is some information relating to this rug and how it came to be:   In the 45th year of the reign of Emperor Qianlong the 6th Panchen Erdeni made a pilgrimage from Tibet to Beijing to celebrate the Emperor’s 70th birthday.  This was a very big deal as shown by the list of gifts brought by the 6th Panchen Erdeni to the Emperor including 1000 horses with saddles and one golden saddle.

(as copied from the China Tibet information center ):

These saddles were cast in iron and covered with patterns of dragons and others.  Inlaid with gold, it shines in the sunshine.  The saddle cushion was made of yellow satin embroidered with patterns of clouds and dragons.  Tied to the saddle is a yellow piece of paper left behind, reading horse saddle adopted by the Panchen Erdeni   on the 26th day of the seventh month of the 45th  year of the reign to Emperor Jiaqing for collection.  Another piece of paper tied to the saddle telling the historical fact.

On the 28th day of the 10th lunar month of the 45th year of the reign of Emperor Qianlong, the 6th Panchen Erdeni contracted smallpox.   When this was reported to Emperor Qianlong, he rushed to the place and ordered Imperial medical workers to treat the master carefully, but the latter passed away on the second day of the 11th lunar month.   Hit by the unexpected death of the master, the emperor cried and fainted.  In his edict issued the next day he said ‘For my 70th birthday, the Panchen Erdeni  left Tashilhingpo Monastery last year… spent his winter in Tar Monastery… reached Rehe  in the seventh month…. When he arrived in Beijing in the ninth month, lamas and thousands of monks greeted him by kowtowing to him… I was told he had a fever on the 29th day of the 10thmonth, and medical doctors sent to treat him reported he had smallpox.  I went to see him on the first day of the 11th month, and he was very happy to see me and loved to talk to me.  His situation worsened on the 2nd and he died late at night…. I was shocked by his death… a gold pagoda is to be built for his remains… and lamas with various monasteries shall be summoned to recite Buddhist scriptures for 100 days’

The gold shrine containing the relics of the late 6th Panchen Erdeni was to be brought back to Tibet on the 23rd day of the second lunar month of the 46 year of the reign of Emperor Qianlong. Emperor Qianlong burnt incense at Huangsi Temple for him.

To remember the late 6th Panchen Erdeni , Emperor Qianlong ordered the building of Jinhuachen Pagoda at Huangsi Monastery.  What is not known by most people is the Memorial Hall Emperor Qianlong  set up in the Palace Museum for the late 6th Panchen Erdeni. Housed in the west wing of the Yuhua Pavilion, a two-story building facing east.  It housed the silver statue and a portrait of the master, and some of his belongings.  The memorial hall was well preserved for more than 130 years from the 46 year of the reign of Emperor Qianlong to the end of the Qing Dynasty.

And according to the inscription on the rug, there is no reason not to believe that this rug originally came from the Pavilion of Infinite Light (this relates in Western architecture to a man’s den where he’d keep his books and favorite things) in the Golden Pagoda (built to hold his remains) in the Yellow Monastery which was built to house the 5th Dali Lama.

This rug is full pile, the ends and sides are complete, it is clean and ready to go.  The buyer pays the shipping with insurance of $95.

#7771 Antique Peking Chinese Rug 3’8 x 7’2

7771 P. Chinese

This circa 1860-1880 Peking Chinese Oriental rug measures 3’8” x 7’2” (111 x 218 cm). What a rug!! I have never seen any rug even remotely like this design and I have owned more than 5,000 Chinese rugs. It has a blue field with a pearl motif in ivory at the top. At the bottom of the rug is one complete and two ½ images of the sacred mountain resting on top of a beautifully drawn wave design. The field of the rug is dark blue consisting of two yellow gold flowers in the left and right corners and a dark yellow and gold cloud motif. Now for the good part. There is a yellow gold five toed coiled dragon which is formed from the smoke rising from a sensor. Flanking the dragon are two tigers with curling tails looking behind themselves each standing on a pillar. The tigers brown stripes are beautifully drawn and the tigers have wide open eyes. They look like they could almost bite you in a dreamlike way. The dragons mouth is opening and ivory plumes of smoke are rising from its nostrils as it tries the catch the flaming pearl above its head. This rug is absolute magic and in perfect condition. The buyer pays the shipping which includes insurance of $75.

#6888 Antique Peking Chinese Rug 12’0″ X 14’5″

6888 peking A

This circa 1880 Peking Chinese rug measures 12’0” x 14’5” (371 x 441 cm).   This is the greatest Chinese of its type that I have EVER seen.  It is totally covered in mythological beasts and true animal images.  There are four ducks swimming in a lake.  There is the sacred mountain with a horse grazing on its slope.  There is an actual house cat.  There are two does and stags in various positions around the field. There are cattle and water buffalo.  There are masses of birds. There is a crane and a phoenix bird.  There is one horned monkey. There is a Foo dog and a Qulin ( which I have never seen in a rug before) and which is a combination horse and dragon breathing smoke. There is a pair of camels, and an elephant.  There are small lake scenes with pagodas and little houses.  There is a hump back a bridge and large trees.  There are weeping willows and rockeries. This carpet absolutely has it all!

 The entire scene is in every shade of blue, ivory and light tan on a medium navy blue background.  The border motif consists of a light blue inner border of flowers and leaves on a mohair ground.  The major border is flowers and trees with different types of birds on a darker blue ground.  The outer border is flowers and meandering vines on a pale blue ground.  The browns have eroded a bit in the carpet (a sign of age).  They can be rewoven if it bothers the buyer.  I personally like it.  The carpet is 99.9% full pile. It is clean and ready to go. The ends and sides are complete

 Chinese carpets of this size are extremely hard to find .Until I saw this rug, I thought that this combination of exciting design with an all over sense of serenity was impossible.  The buyer pays the shipping of $225.

#7579 Antique Peking Chinese Rug 9’2″ X 11’9″

7579 P Chinese

This circa 1930 Peking Chinese Oriental Rug measures 9’2” x 11’9” (280 x 362 cm). This is a very interesting rug.  Describing it from the bottom up we see the dragon and phoenix back to back who are the parents of the Chinese Zodiac creatures. Above them is a three legged table in Wedgewood blue holding a teal blue urn which is flanked by other urns in the same color. The center urn contains a large flowering tree which covers the entire field. It is done in several shades of blue, ivory, peach and purple. All very pale colors. The field rises up in the form of an arch flanked by rusty red spandrels containing more flowers. The field is a very beautiful color of pink which is not an easy color to find in these rugs. The entire outer border is coal black. The rug is very striking! This rug is in essentially perfect condition. It is full pile. The ends and sides are complete. It is clean and ready to go. The buyer pays the shipping which includes insurance of $150.

#7726 Antique Peking Chinese Rug 9’2″ x 11’7″

7726 Peking rug

This circa 1900 Antique Peking Chinese Oriental Rug measures 9’2” x 11’7” (280 x 356 cm). It has a very nice café au lait field with scattered images of Buddhist iconography such as a pair of beribboned scrolls, the chess board, a pair of books, and a brush pot with brushes. The four corners are worked in a very pleasant rendition of a blue flower pot on a table containing foliage in shades of silver and shades of blue. Beneath there is a covered urn and an incense burner which are to the side of a complicated conglomeration of a four legged table upon which rests a blue pillow upon which is standing a golden colored bird, upon which is standing another bird in two shades of blue with the head of a dragon clutching what appears to be a wall sconce from which dangles a lantern with wind chimes and upon the very top is resting a basket with a long blue handle. The minor border is about 8 inches wide and contains a basket of flowers, a cup, a hash marked ‘Shou’ meaning good luck and prosperity, and a butterfly. The designs continue all around the border of the rug. The major border has a dark blue ground and contains pots of flowers, tables with floral decorations, and a mirror. This rug is in excellent condition. It is full pile with very soft wool. The age, size and condition are all very nice. It’s the hat trick! The ends and sides are complete. It is clean and ready to go. The buyer pays the shipping with insurance of $150.

#6232 Very Antique Peking Chinese 8’10” X 11’5″

6232 Peking Chinese

This circa 1850 very Antique Peking Chinese rug measures 8’10” x 11’5”. It has a dark blue to indigo vine design with ivory flowers completely covering the light blue field. The center medallion is an ivory dragon surrounded by lotus blossoms. There are four circles formed by two cranes facing each other with their wings outspread. The border is meandering vines with lotus blossoms in two shades of blue and ivory on a very pale almost ivory peach ground. The rug is 75% full pile. All the wear has been carefully photographed. It is confined to three of the four quadrants. I believe there was once a table with chairs sitting there. This rug is truly fabulous. One doesn’t often get a chance to buy a rug of this age and type. The shipping charge to the buyer is $150.

#7673 Antique Art Deco Chinese Rug 8’9″ X 14’5″

7673 Art Deco Chinese Rug

This circa 1925 Art Deco Chinese Oriental Rug measures 8’11” x 14’5” (273 x 442 cm). It has a very nice field motif with vases standing on tables filled with flowers and many other things going on which I will mention. There is a parrot with his wings opened up on a perch on a table, wrapped packages, and blue bats. Large peonies are scattered throughout the rug with chrysanthemums, a conch shell and ribbon, two very attractive fish, a steaming teapot, a fruit tree growing from a rockery, another parrot with blue and rose feathers standing on a tree with green leafs and pears. Most of the designs are Buddhist iconographies. An interesting thing about the rug is that all the designs are unique in that none of them repeat. This is unheard of in this type of rug. All is on a deep Burmese red ground. There is a minor peach to rose colored border composed of dragons facing each other in yellow. The major border is 1 foot wide in dark blue with a beautiful motif consisting of sensors, baskets of fruit, another grouping of a sensor with a closed book and a hanging basket of flowers, and yet another smoking sensor. The rug is done in several shades of red, several shades of peach, several shades of gold, several shades of green and purple. The rug is 99% full pile. It has complete ends and sides. It is clean and ready to go. The buyer pays the shipping with insurance of $200.

#7318 Antique Peking Chinese Rug 9’1″ x 15’5″

7318 P.Chinese

This third-quarter 19th century Peking Chinese Oriental carpet measures 9’1” X 15’5”. This is a very interesting Peking Chinese rug with a dragon and bat motif.  And to keep things from getting too dull, they threw in a center medallion of two phoenix birds standing on one leg with the other leg extending outward, on a rockery separated by a white carnation.  At either end of the field there is a very sinuously drawn five toed dragon chasing the flaming pearl of wisdom surrounded by cloud and bat motifs.  In each corner is a large symbol for Shou, the Chinese character for happiness and long life.  Each of these symbols are surrounded by five ivory bats, also symbols of good fortune.  All of this is taking place on a field of deep blue.  The minor border consists of cloud formations in light brown, white, and dark brown, some outlined in blue on a very deeply saturated ground.  The major border is medium dark chocolate brown with symbols of ancient money separated by a sprig of flowers.  The rug is in excellent condition.  It is clean and ready to go.  The buyer pays the shipping with insurance of $200.

#6480 Antique Art Deco Chinese Rug 10’1″ X 13’4″

6480 art deco chinese rug

This circa 1920 Art Deco Feti Chinese Oriental rug measures 10’1” X 13’4’. It has a maroon to cranberry red field all encompassed with a navy blue border. The lower right side has a dragon twirling up a pole which has flowers going off into the border and into the field. There are two flowerpots on stands to the left and right of the pole. On the far left of the rug is a large red and green crested bird with a flowing blue tail perched on a flowering sprig that is looking to the center of the rug where its mate is zooming in. The upper right quadrant has a band of clouds beneath a flowering branch. The upper left quadrant has a blue urn on a stand containing numerous flowers. The rug contains two shades of red, two shades of blue, two shades of green, ivory, peach and purple. This hard to find sized beauty is full pile and it is essentially mint condition. It is clean and ready to go. The buyer pays the shipping and insurance of $200.

#7728 Antique Nichols Art Deco Chinese Oriental Rug 9’0″ X 11’11”

7728 art deco chinese Nichols

This circa 1925 Art Deco Chinese Oriental Rug signed NICHOLS measures 9’0” X 11’11” (274 x 368 cm). It has a large floral medallion in pink, rose and terra cotta with leafs in two shades of blue, two shades of green and light and dark purple. The corners are worked in the same motif only quartered. All is on a midnight blue ground. The major border is light blue with meandering flower and vine design with flowers in the same colors as in the field of the rug. This border is flanked with two minor borders. The interior minor border is a pale café au lait about 3 inches wide consisting of the endless knot design separated by flowers, leafs and grapes. The outer minor border is more interesting as it is composed of foliated dragons facing each other and ‘Shou’ marks for long life. The background color is the same as the interior border. The dragons are done in charcoal. This rug is in mint condition as if it was made yesterday. It is woven using very fine Manchester wools. The rug is a custom design rug made to order and signed Nichols. It is full pile. The ends and sides are complete. It is clean and ready to go. The buyer pays the shipping with insurance of $150.

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The Story of Nichols Rugs

The Story of Nichols Chinese Rugs

This article is a reprint scanned in from a brochure published in the 1930's by the Nichols Chinese Rug Company

Story of Nichols Rugs fly cover



This little brochure has been compiled with the object of presenting Chinese Rugs in general and Nichols Super Rugs in particular before prospective purchasers in a manner we believe will stimulate your interest and appreciation.

All experts agree that Chinese Super Rugs as made today represent the greatest intrinsic value in floor covering fabrics produced anywhere in the world.

Nichols Super Rugs combine that wonderful fabric with designs, colors and workmanship placing them in a class by themselves. We have illustrated the following pages as profusely as possible with actual photographs to help us achieve our objective.

Brief history

The art of making woven rugs and tapestries goes far back into the musty realms of antiquity. Chinese rugs may have originated from other countries such as Egypt and Persia but the first woven rugs were spoken of in Chinese annals so

long ago that Chinese carpets may well have antedated those of any country. The theories as to whether rug making originated in China or came from the Near East cannot be substantiated because records so far back in the dim past are confusing. The growth of rug weaving may even have been contemporaneous in the two parts of the world as a result of the intercourse maintained by early traders. The swastika which appears in so many Chinese designs is also found in Egyptian symbolism. It means good luck, abundance, happiness and prosperity. Some scholars believe this sign to have originated in China. Carpet weaving attained a high degree of artistic value in the Tigris,Euphrates Valley and though no Chinese designs are linked with the ruins of Ninevah, the Persian knot used in weaving most Chinese rugs may have come from there. At first carpets woven in China were used principally for saddle cloths and for the K'ang or brick couch of the North but with the advent of Buddhism they assumed greater artistic importance being used not only for prayer rugs for devotees to kneel upon but also for temple floor coverings and wall hangings. Until the Ch'ing dynasty carpets were made only in Northwest China and were brought into Peking as tribute to the Court. The modern industry was founded by a Llama priest who came to pay tribute to the Court bringing with him examples of the rug weavers art of Northwest China. The rugs were so popular at the Court that the priest set up a weaving school outside the East Gate of the city of Peking, and so taught the art of weaving to the people. It is from the teachings of this Llama priest that the modern Chinese rug has sprung.

In 1924 W. A. B. Nichols of Tientsin, North China, introduced the Super Chinese Rug which has become world famous. It is known in every market as the most durable and beautiful product of the modern Chinese weavers art and adorns the homes of people all over the earth.



There are five major departments to be considered in the manufacture of a Super Rug, namely:

Materials (Wool, Woolen Yarn, warp and Weft)

Dyes and Dyeing

Color and Design


Chemical Washing

To obtain perfect results all these things must be of the highest quality and coordinated under one management. A Nichols Super Rug is entirely a Nichols product. It is transformed from raw wool into a beautiful floor covering within the confines of our own factories and when we say our own factories we mean that we own the buildings, own the looms, own every tool and every rice bowl that is used in them. We do not "farm" out our yarn to be made into rugs by others - we do it all from beginning to end.



Visitors are always welcome to our plants so let us pretend that you have taken a trip halfway round the world and landed in Tientsin and dropped in to call upon us. We will take you on a tour of our factories and show you each phase of rug making separately in order that you may have a clearer understanding of just how it is all accomplished.



Wool, of course, is the largest component part of a rug, accounting for about 80% of its weight, therefore it is of the utmost importance to the fabric. All the wool that goes into a Nichols Rug is first carefully selected for length and strength of staple-only live resilient wool being considered suitable. Next it is thoroughly scoured with soap and warm water to remove dirt and foreign matter. This is very important because wool that has not been properly scoured will smell very sheepy for years after. Next the clean wool is sorted again and all the short pieces taken out, also the black and brown is eliminated and only pure white fleecy wool goes to the spinning mill. Here it is spun into a uniform woolen yarn by the Mule system of spinning and this white yarn in the grease goes to the dyer.



The dyeing department is one of the greatest importance. Only the best foreign dyes are used and these are applied to the yarn by the fastest known process for dyeing wool. The yarn must first be washed to remove the spinning oil otherwise it will not dye even and streaks show up in the carpets.

We have over eight hundred different colors and tones of colors in our collection and still are always developing new ones. Every one of these colors is guaranteed to be fast to light and washing.


Dyed in the Wool

All our indigo blues are dyed in the wool to insure uniform shades. We have twelve tones of indigo blue running from light to very dark.

This is China's national color and used a great deal in Chinese rugs and are to be found in most antique carpets.

Among the ancient traditional designs the dragon occupies the foremost position. It is symbolic of royalty and ranks first on all carpets, embroideries, bronzes, porcelains and palace buildings.

The eight immortal Genii of Taoism, believed to have been disciples of Lao-Tzu, have passed on their deified attributes as motifs for designs. The phoenix is also very important. As a messenger of the eight Genii it is the medium of intercourse between them and living beings. Its appearance heralds good times and happy events.

India has contributed most of all to the designs of Chinese rugs through Buddhism. The designs of Chinese carpets are all older than carpet weaving itself because they are derived from those used in silk weaving. These in turn have the same origin as the paintings found on old Chinese pottery. A wealth of designs which have been utilized for carpets are found in old manuscripts and on painted and carved walls of ancient temples. They have been closely related to the legends and the various religions of the Chinese people. Thanks to the tenacity with which the Chinese cling to all that is ancient we still find these old designs being woven lending to the Chinese carpets a very special charm not only on account of their great antiquity of design but also on account of their peculiarity and unique characteristics retained through centuries and making of each carpet a surviving evidence of an historical past.

The continuous development of carpet designs owes its loveliest inspirations to the trees and flowers of China. Natural flowers are always realistically reproduced and are seldom so conventionalized as the design on Persian carpets so that every species of flower is recognizable at sight. The peach blossom, symbol of the spring and the

blossom of the fruit of life; the lotus flower, emblem of the summer; the chrysanthemum, emblem of the autumn; the narcissus, emblem of the winter; the plum blossom; symbol of beauty; the orchid, valued for its fragrance; the bamboo, emblem of longevity and enduring bloom; the peony, flower of wealth and respectability. All these are the flowers which are used most often and to great advantage. Neoclassic designs are the very latest influence in Chinese rug styles taking as they do the old classic patterns and working them up in colors of today. Also bringing out the design by beveling all around it, producing a very beautiful molded effect.

Much has been said and written regarding the value and beauty of antique rugs but it is a recognized fact that people of good taste and refinement today prefer modern rugs and this choice comes from the fact that in modern rugs one can achieve a more artistic interior----one more suited to the individual and in perfect harmony with their surroundings. There is no rug that lends itself to this more than the Chinese. Too much cannot be said about the beauty and interpretation of Nichols designs, for into these rugs is woven the culture, beauty and heritage of China. The designs have been gleaned from old palace rugs, porcelains, pottery, temple decorations and bronzes, the old containing a mixture of the new thus modernizing the design and making the rug a thing of beauty for the western home. We maintain a staff of skilled artists who are always on the alert for something new and who combine the best elements of the Western and Chinese designs into a harmoniously blended whole.

We are also pleased to execute the ideas of our customers in weaving designs submitted by them or in working up designs to meet their individual requirements as to type or color. Having selected a design and color scheme and with the yarn all dyed accordingly, we now enter the weaving room. Assuming the carpet is to be made in the popular 9xI2 size we find the loom that has been allocated for this order and the four weavers who will weave the rug (one weaver usually works a section 2 1/2  feet wide).

These four weavers now start stringing the warp. This is done by carrying a strong cotton cord around the loom and back again, looping it over a steel or bamboo rod at the bottom, thereby making one continuous warp for the whole rug. The warp cord itself must be very strong and free from knots. Only the best knotless warp is used in Nichols Rugs.

After the warp has been strung the upper and lower beams of the loom are spread apart by a powerful jack and wedged in that position.

Next the paper loom drawing which is the actual size of the design to be made is placed behind the warp and weavers trace the pattern on the warp itself with red ink. (If this ink is not properly made and applied it often discolors light ugs when they are washed at some future date.)

The design having been transferred to the warp the weavers now start the rug by making a webbing of cotton about one inch wide at the bottom. This is not only to form part of the fringe but also to enable the yarn to be pounded down tight as the weaving progresses.

The weavers then start putting in a row of woolen yarn by twisting it around the two warp cords forming a figure eight, the outside loop of which is chopped off leaving the two ends sticking out, creating the pile of the rug. The warp cords are separated by a harness that goes around each one and is fastened to a stick that is behind the weaver's head. This he reaches up and pulls after every line of knots has been tied and thus crosses the warp cords and pinches the woolen yarn in between them.

A line of cotton weft threads is then inserted between the crossed warp cords above the woolen yarn and the warp is crossed again. These are all beaten down together with an iron fork. Another line of woolen knots are tied and the same operation is repeated over and over again. The weft threads are not carried all the way across the rug but are short lengths and taken from one weaver to another, overlapping where they meet by a few lengths of warp. Each weaver ties about 8,000 knots a day, completing about one square foot of the rug's surface. Each knot is chopped off when it is tied about 1/8 of an inch longer than the height of pile required and then this extra length is cut off with scissors. After a day's weaving has been finished the surface is trimmed up again with wider scissors until it is perfectly even.

A 9x12 rug is usually woven about four feet and then the loom beams are loosened and the whole warp is shifted down and around the back of the loom. The loom is tightened up again and weaving resumed. This operation is repeated until the rug is completed. Before the rug is shifted the design must be cut all around the edge to make it stand out from the  background. This is a distinctive feature in Chinese rugs. No other Oriental rug has ever had this carved effect. When the rug is finished it is cut down from the loom and the weavers must spend a day or two fixing and trimming it up after which it is carefully examined by expert inspectors and if found satisfactory the weavers are paid for their work and start on another rug.

It takes four weavers about one month to weave a9x12 rug. Of course, the more intricate the design the longer it takes to weave. The weavers are paid extra for hard designs.

There are no carpet weavers in China superior to those employed by us. They are carefully selected and trained. They work in the cleanest and most modern factories in China where they are well fed and housed and where medical attention is always available. They come from the Northern provinceswhich have always been the home of the finest weavers. We employ no child labor or apprentices. Because of their ideal working conditions happier workmen cannot be found, and knot by knot their deft fingers create the most beautiful carpets in the market because it is the innermost desire of these weavers, influenced by tradition, folklore and superstition, to produce a product which cannot be surpassed.

"A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever," sang Keats, and this can truly be said of a Nichols Chinese Rug, for it creates joy in the heart of its owner and its beauty spreads sunshine wherever it may be. One can read the glory and culture of China's imperial past when studying the rare old designs of these rugs, for China in sign and symbol has been woven into them.


Chemical washing

This is a process that puts a silky sheen on the surface of the rug and makes it soft and pliable. It takes out of the rug all the surplus wool fibres that would otherwise come out in six months of sweeping and it polishes the tip of each individual wool tuft so that dirt and dust will not stick to them, making a washed rug much easier to keep clean than an unwashed rug. People often remark that they have been told the washing takes out half the life of a rug. This is not a fact. The washing process does reduce the height of the pile a small fraction of an inch but Nichols Rugs are made with a higher pile when they are woven to compensate for this loss. Here are some of the important points to remember when considering the relative merits of a washed rug and an unwashed rug. The chemical washing is a severe process-there is no doubt about that. It brings out all the latent defects in any rug. Therefore when you see a washed rug you see just what you are going to get for your money. You can feel it and judge for yourself the life that is left in it. You can see if it has faded.

If it has not faded in the washing it will never fade. It has been saturated with water two or three times, therefore it is washable and you can wash a Nichols Rug as many times as you'd like. It is disinfected by the chemicals and safe to be laid down in your home. It contains no uncertainties. On the other hand unwashed rugs of any kind contain all the uncertainties we have just mentioned and a lot more. Some of the Persian rugs, when they are washed, lose nearly all their color and have to be painted with dyes in the New York washing plants. It is a common practice to change the entire color scheme of there rugs to meet the current demand. No such thing can be done with Nichols Rugs. Their colors are FAST and are only softened and mellowed in the washing. Some people also say the sheen does not last. This is not true. If you could keep your rug in a glass case the sheen would last indefinitely, but dust and dirt dulls it and then a washing with soap-and water will restore to your rug the original beautiful lustre. We have proven this statement a thousand times by washing customers rugs purchased from us years before and they have never failed to turn out as lovely as the day they were bought. Experience has taught us that chemical washing is also a protection against moths. Washed rugs are not susceptible to the ravages of this insect nearly as much as unwashed rugs. We have actually had cases of our washed rugs in storage for over two years without any protective material such as napthalene and the rugs opened up in perfect condition. This is important when it is considered that many of our customers buy their rugs "in bond" and may be obliged to leave them packed for a much longer period than anticipated. We unhesitatingly recommend the chemical washing process and all Nichols Rugs are so treated unless we are specifically instructed to the contrary.

Care of Rugs

Because of the beautiful clean condition in which you find your Nichols Rug when it is delivered to you, its care is reduced many fold and the only necessary attention for many years is merely that of routine house cleaning which is done with either a broom or a vacuum cleaner. You do not need to be afraid to use even the strongest vacuum cleaner on a Nichols Rug. When the fringes are soiled they may be cleaned with dry cornmeal by brushing the cornmeal vigorously in and out of the fringe; if soiled sufficiently, scrub the fringe with soap and water.

Nichols rugs may be washed with soap and water or, if only the surface is soiled, use a small portion of alcohol or ammonia in tepid water and go over the rug with this mixture. Most stains can be removed with gasoline or soap and water. It is better to dry the rugs on a flat surface rather than hang them on a line. Of course, all large cities have rug cleaning establishments and we recommend any reliable firm of this kind for a thorough cleaning; they cannot damage a Nichols Rug in the ordinary course of any cleaning process. Our New York Office will be glad to give you advice on this subject if you consult them


In Peking we have converted the former palace of a Manchu Prince into a weaving establishment containing fifty looms. The Old Audience Hall, seventy.five feet long, serves as our rug showroom. The original living quarters of the Prince's familv now house our two hundred weavers. This "Palace Factory" is now one of the sights of the city and visited by thousands of tourists every year. Should you be fortunate enough to ever spend a few days in Peking you are cordially invited to come and go through this unique place from a purely sightseeing point of view. It is not necessary to buy a rug - just see them made in a Palace and you will agree they are "Fit for a King."

nichols Chinese rug factory image factory

See our Chinese rugs for sale:

#7266 Antique Art Deco Chinese Carpet 8’11” X 11’10”

#7728 Antique Nichols Art Deco Chinese Oriental Rug 9’0″ X 11’11”