Khotan Pomegranate Tree Carpet
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Glasgow Museums - The Burrell Collection
Cotton warp and weft, silk pile
H: 3353mm, W: 1728mm
Khotan or Yarqand town workshop
Khotan or Yarqand, East Turkistan (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China)
A 19th Pomegranate Tree carpet from north-east Central Asia, from Khotan or Yarqand, East Turkistan (today in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China). This silk pile carpet has as dark blue background in its centre-field and a predominantly red border. The centre-field is dominated by a wine-red, ivory and green pomegranate tree that grows out of a small ivory vase at the base of the field. The tree branches out upwards in an abstracted symmetrical layout. Both along the main stem of the tree and on the tips of its horizontal branches are hanging pomegranate fruits that have been depicted with their seeds showing. Small buds and leaves grow on the threes stems and branches. The carpet’s border comprises of three bands of geometric patterns: the outer and inner bands are made up of pink coloured “T”-shaped elements, angled at right angles in association with each other, creating a continuous geometric decorative frame. The centre border-band holds a blue repeat chain of swastikas on a red background.
The depiction of a pomegranate tree growing out of a vase reminds of the ancient tree of life or tree of knowledge that appears on the arts of many ancient civilisations in Asia. Here it is believed to be an invocation of the three-of-life in the Islamic tradition which grows out of the font-of-life in Paradise.
The swastika motif in this carpet is almost as ancient a symbol as the tree of life. In Asian cultures it is seen as an auspicious symbol. On this carpet it has been applied as a decorative motif inherited from the region’s Buddhist heritage.
Manufacturing techniques and stylistic analysis
Gifted by Sir William and Lady Burrell to the City of Glasgow, 1944
Noorah Al-Gailani "Khotan Pomegranate Tree Carpet" [db_in_citation_dca] 2019. http://carpets.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?itemId=object;DCA;uk;Mus31;18;en
Prepared by: Noorah Al-Gailani
MWNF Working Number: UK1_018