Although the Mongols had ruled territories including today’s North China for decades, it was not until 1271 that Kublai Khan officially proclaimed the dynasty in the traditional Chinese style, although his conquest was not complete until 1279, resulting in Yuan dynasty becoming the first to rule all of China. The dynasty itself lasted until 1368. After that date, the rebuked Mongolian rulers retreated to their homeland. Antique Mongolian rugs are a rarity, with only few pieces remaining. Most of our knowledge on their subject comes from Chinese manuscripts, which describe them as similar to modern Mongolian craft.
Design of Mongolian Rugs
The design of Mongolian carpets is characterized by “see-through” patterns put against a solid background, not unlike in Chinese rugs. There is a clear connection between the aesthetics of China and goods produced by Mongolian weavers. Many famous motifs, such as Buddhist symbols, fretwork spandrels, endless knots, shou, tigers and dragons can be seen on Mongolian carpets, although their creators significantly simplified them. It can be assumed that they were inspired by works of Chinese masters and tried to copy them. However, they can be easily differentiated by open spaces appearing between elements of design. Their color palette is rather subdued, with dominant hues being earthy browns, usually toned down to various shades.
Mongolian Rugs Nowadays
Comparing to high-profile Chinese and Indian carpet industry, modern Mongolian weaving remains relatively insignificant on the market. Only small amount of rugs is produced in the country, which makes them extremely rare. Sadly, few collectors express interest in them, although this seems to slowly change as more and more people become fascinated with ethnic weaving.