Imperial Ming Carpets – Lecture at The Textile Museum

Category: Lectures

Two Imperial Dragons and Flaming Pearl (detail). Throne Carpet from the Imperial Palace in Beijing, China, Ming dynasty, Wanli period (1573-1620). Private collection, USA. Photograph by Longevity, London.

Information from The Textile Museum, Washington DC. – 26 January 2006
An Introduction to Imperial Ming Carpets
A Special Lecture at The Textile Museum
Saturday, February 4 at 2:30 pm

The knotted pile carpet has been part of Chinese culture for at least 2,000 years, yet probably fewer than 600 Imperial Ming carpets survive today from the so-called ‘classical’ period (1400-1750). Because of their scarcity, they remain virtually unknown to all but a relatively small number of people. Until recently it was believed that most of the surviving classical Chinese carpets remained in western institutions such as The Textile Museum, as well as in private collections.

Possibly the most important group is comprised of carpets that were made, probably in Beijing, in the 16th century specifically for the Royal Palaces. Some 16 examples survive in western collections, along with a number of fragments. In 2000, Michael and Jacqueline Franses went to Beijing in search of the Imperial Ming carpets. The curator of furniture at the Royal Palace had been informed that some great carpets were placed many years ago in the upper floor of a storeroom, once Kangxi‘s Imperial Kitchen, that was sealed in the 1920s. The director granted permission for the seals to be broken and some 40 Imperial Ming carpets that had been placed there 80 years before were re-discovered.

In this lecture, well-known textile authority and dealer Michael Franses will present images of many of the Imperial Ming carpets and discuss the various types and designs.

The Textile Museum is located at 2320 S Street NW, Washington, DC.
Metro: Red Line, Dupont Circle, Q Street exit.
Hours are Monday – Saturday 10 am – 5 pm, and Sunday 1 – 5 pm. Admission is free.
For more information, call (202) 667-0441 or visit

Find Chinese rugs in Vendors gallery

More articles about: ,

« | »