An emperor’s carpet that once lay in China’s Imperial Palace during the Ming dynasty has been sold for USD 324,500.
The carpet – showing a large dragon around a flaming pearl which is seen as a symbol of prosperity – was sold at a Skinner auction in Boston in the United States.
The price contrasts with another carpet from the palace which sold for USD 7.16 million as it was more intact because it had a border.
The Ming dynasty lasted from 1368 to 1644 and dragon motif allowed experts to identify it as royal because only goods destined for the Emperor were allowed to have five-clawed dragons.
The director of rugs and carpets at Skinner, Benjamin Mini, described the images on the carpet saying: “Within the Daoist framework of belief, dragons on floating clouds can represent the wanderings of the soul or the attainment of dreams within reality.
“Dragons also often signify auspicious powers, especially control over the weather or the seasons.”
The longest-serving Emperor of the Ming dynasty was Emperor Wanli (1563–1620) with a rule of 48 years between 1572 and 1620.
The carpet had been owned by a collector called Jim Dixon who was particular interest in rugs and other textiles and who died aged 77 two years ago.
Although he had been more interested in design and techniques he ended up with at least three Ming-era carpets or fragments of carpets in his collection.
Expert Murray Eiland believes that the repairs carried out on the carpet had probably been carried out at the same place it was originally made and probably during the Ming dynasty.