We are pleased to present a collection of fine carpets from the northern areas of Ningxia, Baotou, Mongolia and Tibet at the Gallery this month; particularly those decorated with wonderful woven motifs representative of Buddhist thought and beliefs.

Rugs designed expressly for use by Buddhist adherents exist in different forms, perhaps the most distinguishable being the pillar rugs. They were used to decorate architectural pillars in temples and palaces. The typical design is a single dragon having a segmented body, which when secured to the wooden pillar by ropes assumes a continuous ascending spiral form. Acting as graphic visual representations for mostly illiterate worshippers, they assumed a teaching role in much the same way that stained glass windows and sculptural porticos did in western cathedrals.

Other forms of Buddhist carpets served different functions. Single square prayer mats and long temple carpet runners made up of a series of identical squares, provided a comfortable place for one monk or long rows of monks to sit and pray. Another form unique to China is the seat rug, originally woven in two parts with a square section for the seat on which the monks sat cross-legged in traditional Buddhist prayer pose, and a scalloped section which mirrored the shape of the chair back.

Also on display are rugs for use at home as well as those designed for the temple, with designs such as dragons moving with strength and bursting with energy; snow lions, Tibet's national animal symbolizing wisdom, fearlessness, joy and considered the protector of Buddha; as well as motifs such as the thunderbolt djorje and yin and yang Buddhist images giving one an insight into the world of meditation and the balances of the forces of the universe. Other rugs are woven with wonderful floral motifs, and stylized medallions of lotuses.

The vibrant colours and motifs displayed in these rugs vary between the regions and these hand-knotted wool rugs make stunning decorative and artistic statements whether used on the floor or hung as wall hangings. We welcome you to come by the Gallery to see the carpets which are now on view.