About Chinese Rugs Part 1
It is impossible to say exactly where and when rug-making in China first began. There is ample literary and pictorial evidence to suggest that rugs were in use from the 12th century onwards, but it is not clear whether these were Chinese in origin or imported from from abroad. However, it is generally assumed that rug-weaving was brought into China, probably from Turkestan or Mongolia, some time before the reign of Emperor K’ang Hsi (1661-1722), a noted patron of the arts who may well have encouraged its assimilation into Chinese artistic life.
Similarly, it is almost impossible to say where most Chinese rugs were made.
Unlike Persia on Anatolia, where each region or village is associated with a specific method of weaving and repertoire of designs, rug-making in China was never based around exclusive localized styles; and although antique rugs may be classified as ‘Paotao’ or ‘Ning-Hsia’, for example, this is usually a definition of their quantity and style, rather than a statement of where they were made.
Nevertheless, Chinese rugs made in the heart of the country had slightly different characteristics to those woven in East Turkestan, Mongolia and Tibet.
The former employed more classically Chinese designs and often limited their palette to blues and cream. In contrast, rugs from East Turkestan, Mongolia, and Tibet often possessed a distinctive Turkoman flavour, in addition to elements of local symbolism which combined with their overall “Chinese” character to create a unique aesthetic style. This was enhanced by their use of brighter colors, particularly warm shades of burnt orange, yellow ochre, peach, pale green, and pale raw umber. These stylistic differences have gradually eroded over the years, and today regional divisions have all but disappeared.
Source: Oriental Rugs: A Buyer’s Guide by Lee Allane