Antique Peking carpets represent a newer antique production that began in China immediately following World War I, when carpet manufacturing moved from Ningxia and other interior centers to the capital. Peking carpets were now made in larger sizes intended to be more usable as decorative room-size rugs in the Europe and the United States.
Peking rugs could adhere to the traditional patterns derived from Ningxia production. But at times the designs became simpler and asymmetrical, often tending toward modern western Art Deco taste, and the weaving technique became thicker and tighter to make the rugs more durable for western use.
Traditional Chinese rugs and carpets are immediately recognizable by their simple, classic motifs and unusual colors. These rugs often feature a center, circular medallion; familiar objects seen in nature such as animals, flowers, and clouds; stylized Chinese ideographs; and even entire scenes. They’re usually framed with a simple, wide border. Chinese rugs are woven with a 5-ply yarn, in contrast with the 2-ply yarns used in Persian rugs and carpets. Many Chinese rugs and carpets are sculpted where contrasting colors meet to provide interest and texture to the simple patterns. These rugs are usually of high quality and extremely durable.