Tibetan Saddle Carpet with Five Blessing Medallions

c. 1900
$4,280 USD
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W: 49.5" D: 31.0" H: 0.25"
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This unusually-shaped carpet is known as a "makden" and was originally used by a nomadic Tibetan traveler as an artful covering for his horse. Placed between the saddle and the horse, the makden cushioned the rigid saddle and kept the horse warm in cold climates. Most under-saddle carpets include two to four holes near the center, through which the girth straps of the saddle were threaded.

Dated to the late 19th century, this Tibetan saddle carpet has an oblong, oval shape and a curvilinear design. On either side of the carpet is a round, central medallion in the form of five bats around the shou symbol of longevity. Known as the wufu pengshou, this traditional motif bestows the Five Blessings of old age, wealth, health, virtue, and peace. The medallion is enclosed by a a simple meander and a main border patterned with floral scrollwork. The carpet is trimmed in a silvery velvet fabric and backed with dark blue cloth. Knotted in a palette of orange, blue, and green against a creme field, the small carpet continues to enrich its surroundings with bright color and rich texture.

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