Rare carpet from Beijing's Forbidden City sells for $7.7m at Paris auction

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Nov 26, 2021, 08:07 PM(IST)

Believed to have been red when it was first created in an imperial workshop, the carpet has faded to a golden yellow. Photograph:( Reuters )

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'This is one of only seven complete dragon throne carpets that remain in Western collections. There are nine other carpets, but these remain within the palace museum in Beijing'

A rare carpet that belongs to the Ming dynasty and it is believed that it likely sat under the throne of the emperor sold fetched 6.88 million euros ($7.74 million) on Tuesday (November 23) at an auction at Christie's Paris. The carpet is from the Imperial Palace in Beijing's Forbidden City, hidden from the public eye in the last 34 years. 

"This particular carpet, due to its shape and its decoration, was woven specifically for the emperor's throne. And this was a square format raised above the floor level on which the emperor's throne would have been placed," said Louise Broadhurst, oriental carpets expert at Christie's London. 

The magnificent 16th century Ming dragon throne carpet means it was woven in the 16th century for the emperors in the Forbidden City. Broadhurst explained that there was an imperial workshop that created these carpets solely for the interiors of the halls within the Forbidden City. 

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"This is one of only seven complete dragon throne carpets that remain in Western collections. There are nine other carpets, but these remain within the palace museum in Beijing. Of course, they will never come out of that museum collection," Broadhurst added. 

It has been learned that the carpet was originally bought in 1920 by a couple from Iowa who were on honeymoon in China. 

They had loaned it to the Cleveland Museum of Art then sold it in 1987 to a private collector in Switzerland, the current vendor. 

The carpet appears to be in yellow colour but it is believed to have been red when it was first created in an imperial workshop. The carpet has faded to a golden yellow. 

"Private individuals who are looking really for works of art that have very strong provenance, historically important and magnificently beautiful. This has all of those," Broadhurst said.

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