Antique Mongolian Gansu tapestry


  • £1,800.00
  • €2,047 Euro
  • $2,003 US Dollar

United Kingdom

DC Member since 2019
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Antique Mongolian Gansu tapestry

The most beautiful and unusual double sided kilim tapestry. 276cm x 117cm.

Featuring woven Taoist cranes and block printed decorative elements over the most astonishingly attractive ombre pink/coral/orange background. The print elements (applied to both sides) fade in and out of the background, giving the piece a painterly feel unlike any other textile we have seen. The use of so called “eccentric weft” in the tapestry allows for genuine curvilinear forms, not the approximations found in most weavings.

The origin and purpose of these textiles has been debated and disputed for many years. Being attributed as Korean by the Japanese, and Chinese “of obscure origin” to early scholars in the west. We now know they were created by Uyghar and Monguor artisans in China's Gansu province. Extensive research by art historian Gloria Gonick has established these tapestries were made not as wall hangings, but to be worn as mantles; the main motif sitting at the wearers upper back and the minor motifs at the hips and shoulders.

Condition is overall very good. The selvages are original, fraying in places but for the most part intact. The warp threads at the ends are untied/unfinished, originally there would have been a couple more stripes at the top and bottom. It has been cut down at some point probably as a result of damage to the ends. It has been professionally cleaned and the colours are strong and vibrant. There is a stain to the left edge that we have lightened but were unable to fully remove. It is similar in tone to the printed elements so doesn't detract too much. Two small areas of wear to the weft threads on the main field, (the wefts are gone but the warps are still present). Please see images, lots more on the Google Drive link here:

Formerly the property of renowned theatre director Henry Kiell Ayliff (1871-1949). This is one of a pair consigned for sale by the directors granddaughter. We have the other one, but condition is poorer and we haven't yet looked at restoration options. Please let us know if you would like more information or images.

For similar examples, see Lot 140 Christies Fine European and Oriental Carpets June 2006, and Early Carpets and Tapestries of the Eastern Silk Road by Gloria Gonick.


  • H: 276cm (108.66in)
  • W: 117cm (46.06in)


circa 1850

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We are Rebecca Roche and Alex Coward.

Our background is in the visual arts, and we value craftsmanship and skill in all things.  This love for quality and beauty, and the scarcity of it in so much of modern manufacturing, has led us to this venture: A Bohemian boutique offering rare, unusual antiques, art pieces and vintage items for the home and garden.


Our style is not for the faint hearted!

We lean towards the highly decorative.  If you don't immediately recoil at the prospect of having a huge polychrome carved Balinese temple door in your living room you are in the right place.  We don't do beige or magnolia and we may not be the landlords go to choice, but why choose neutrals when you can have Turquoise or Gold?


We like painted things, woven things, carved things and gilded things.  If it is unique and beautiful, if the hand of the artist is present, we like it.  We love great design, elegant lines, bold colour. And gilded things.

We source items from across the ages, from 18th Century Asia to 20th Century Europe.  We want to help you create bespoke interiors, to mix and match; to provide an eclectic, rich, opulent and exotic living environment.


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