Chinese wool area rug inquiry from the Netherlands

I am still amazed at how far and wide my blog reaches. In August I received this e-mail from R. in the Netherlands (names have been removed for privacy). I am honored that people ask me for my professional opinion and knowledge.a bout rugs.

Hello Mary.
I was searching for info for an I think Chinese rug with dragons and came on your blog. I think you know a lot about these kinds of rugs so that is why I send you this mail. My parents became hold of this rug from a friend who has had it for a long time. We don’t know if they bought it new or second-hand. The rug is a bit dirty with some spots that are difficult to clean we think.

Do you think it is worth to clean this rug or maybe we should try to sell it.

The rug is about 4.3 meters x 3.0 meters ( 6×9 feet) and weighs 60 or 70 kilo, I think. (to lift it we needed at least 2 adults)

Hopefully you can tell me a little more about this rug.

With kind regards,
 Rosmalen, The Netherlands

Here is my response to their e-mail:

Hello R., wow thanks for reading my blog. It is always nice to know that my blog reaches world-wide. Honestly R., any rug that you love and have a use for is always worth getting clean. I view rugs as a work of art more so than a floor covering. They make me feel good when I see and use them.

Five Clawed Chinese Dragon rug

This is a gorgeous Chinese rug. I love the dragons; they are fighting one another which is a typical Chinese usage of dragons. In my opinion the Chinese were the best at making the best blue in their rugs. I like that the dragon’s have 5 claws too, that is rare to see over here in Canada, especially Victoria. Most Chinese rugs with dragons have only 4 claws. (5 clawed dragons used to be only woven for royalty)

Chinese rugs are sensitive to spills, spot cleaners, improper cleaning and pet accidents, so they tend to stain easily. I am not sure if the spots on your rug would disappear or not. There looks to be some fading along the sides too. There are also some areas where the pile is worn down from use.

The rug would look a lot better if the fringes were removed and a serged edging sewn on. The fringes are very dingy and worn out.

Here is my video on how to tell if you will like your rug without fringes

I do hope that you have a use for this rug or if you do end up selling it that the new owners love it as much as I do. Thanks Mary.

They responded back that they really had no use for the rug due to the size, so they were going to try to sell it. I was hoping that they loved the rug enough to keep it, but we can’t keep every rug we get.

If you have a rug that you want me to write about e-mail me your story and pictures of the front and back. I love learning the personal history of rugs it makes them just that much more special. E-mail me at

Thanks for reading and sharing, RugloverMary

I travelled to 3 countries in 6 minutes

Yes, it is possible to travel at warp speed to any where in the world via the internet 🙂

Today in 4 minutes I saw Argentina in reverse thanks to JoshyWashington and in 2 minutes I saw Morocco and Spain thanks to 4000 photos by Mike Matas.

I did not go looking for either site today, they came to me. I first looked at the blog by Eric Warren because his blog is featured on Freshly Pressed today when I sighed onto WordPress.  His blog was about climbing Mt. Rainer in Washington State and since I live just across the water in Victoria, BC, Canada I had to read about it. Then in his twitter feed he wrote “You’ve never see a travel video like this one..”, so I had to check it out and off to Argentina I went.

On the right side of that page was other links and that lead me to the 4000 pictures in 2 minutes of Morocco and Spain. All that and I never had to deal with line ups, smelly airports and delays. How wonderful!

Surfing on the internet and being lead in different directions reminds me of how my passion for area rugs got started. I knew nothing about rugs except that they existed when I started at Luv-A-Rug in 2007. As I started seeing more and more different types of rugs, reading books about rugs, learning from the boss, and rug blogs/websites I discovered that rugs were more than just a floor covering. They are amazing pieces of art.

Just like the travel videos and blogs where one leads me to another, one aspect of area rugs lead me further and further into how they were made and why. These usable pieces of art have a magnificent history of war, blood shed, happiness, love, fallen Dynasties, empowerment, I could go on but you get the point.

The most interesting part of learning about rugs is that the back of the rug tells you the most about the rug. It shows you the weaving technique, how many knots per square inch, any forgotten spills, what type of weaver made the rug, if they used different batches of wool to weave the rug (abrash lines), so much more that the front of the rug says. Design and colour are one of the last things you use to identify an area rug.

Looking at this photo there is no way of telling how the rug was made or by who. All you can say is that the pattern is Oriental inspired, it is cream and blue with hints of teal. I like this rug very much because of the subtle diamond motifs around the center circle and the colours. But without seeing the back you can only guess at the type of rug it is.

This rug is an actual Chinese hand-knotted rug, since I do not have a photo of the back of the rug you are going to have to trust me.

As with most things we are passionate about there is no end to the amount of knowledge you can learn. Barry O’Connell is so knowledgeable that he can tell what area of the world a rug was woven because of the shade of green they used. Specific colours are made from certain plants, leaves, bugs, soil and because of this you can tell where the wool was dyed and by whom.

I find that absolutely amazing. In the ocean of area rug knowledge I know rain droplets compared to people like Barry and my boss, Dusty, but knowing people like this helps me learn more all the time.

It is this knowledge that sets Luv-A-Rug apart from everyone else when it comes to area rug cleaning. We care about your rugs and where they came from, how they are made and the best way to clean them and help them last for decades to come.

Next time you are killing time on your computer just relax and let the web take you by the hand and lead you to all kinds of neat and wonder websites and blogs.

When it comes time to clean your rugs contact Luv-A-Rug in Victoria BC 250-590-6210/1-800-886-2802, and we will take good care of your rugs. For the rest of the world find a rug cleaner in your town who is passionate about rugs and a certified Wool Safe cleaner.

Thanks for reading, RugloverMary, my name says it all!

>A Blue Chinese not a Sad Chinese

> This is an 8×10 foot wool hand knotted Chinese area rug.

What I love about this rug is the subtle details and the colours. It is a treat to see a Chinese rug that breaks with the traditional look.

A more typical Chinese area rug design features floral or dragon motifs.

The deep blue that the Chinese rug weavers use is amazing. I don’t see it used in a lot of their area rugs, which is a shame. Most Chinese rugs are pastel in colouring.

The simplistic design of this rug makes you look at the border. It is considerable sized border, but it doesn’t make the rug look out of proportion. It is very well balanced and doesn’t distract the eye. This rug has a calming effect to it. I find it very inviting to enjoy.

The designs in the inner corners draws the eye in. I find myself looking at the border of the rug more so than the center of the rug.

This area rug would look great in a bedroom or living room. It doesn’t feel like a rug I would out in a dining room.

You may feel different, but for me it is too soft looking for a dining room setting. Having chair legs moving over this rug would soon leave wear marks.
This is the best design detail of the rug. There are six of these surrounding the center medallion. This is what makes so special.

I am a true believer that the simple and subtle details that make a rug desirable.

Area rugs are pieces of art and not everyone sees or likes the same things about the same rug. I find this rug to be one of the many treasures from the orient.

Thanks for reading, RugloverMary

>Chinese Sheep Skin?

> Every once in awhile an area rug comes to our shop that blows me away.

Last week we had one such an item brought to us from Galiano Island. The craftsmanship that this rug/wall hanging has is pretty amazing.

I tried to find more about these kinds of sheepskin wall hangings, but came up very empty.

I could not find anything thing close to this workmanship on other sites. I can not tell you if this was a custom order piece or if they are made for market. The design is Chinese, but the construction is not typical Chinese.

The five clawed dragons used to only be for royalty.

I wrote a blog about five clawed dragons back in January.

The scene is very tradition Chinese with the two dragons going after a ball.

The red ball represents perfection and the dragons are trying to obtain it.

The back of the rug shows how much work went into making this unique sheepskin. Every little piece cut and sewed perfectly in place.

Amazing! This is a treasure that will be loved for many, many years.

Thanks for reading, RugloverMary

>Chinese Royality or just an Area Rug?

>Today I decided to find out more about the history of the Chinese dragon used in area rugs. The usual happened; I found very little information about the design and tons of Chinese area rugs for sale. The information I did find was conflicting.
This Chinese Dragon rug was woven by Nepalise weavers. I love the bright blue used. That shade of blue isn’t used often in area rug weaving and is usually found in Chinese, Nepalise and Tibetan area rugs.
The characteristics of a Chinese dragon are their bodies are shaped like a huge snake like lizard, with no wings and four legs and a head. it.

In a lot of Chinese Dragon area rugs the dragon would be snapping at a pearl or two dragons would be fighting over a pearl. The dragon represented the Imperial ruler and the pearl was perfection.

Last week we had a client bring in her pink Chinese area rug with a dragon on it.
She asked if I knew anything about the rug, such as the age and history behind it. I was told that dragons with five toes or claws were only made for royalty, however that is only partly true.

The confusing part is who to believe when it comes to when a dragon with five claws was only for royalty. I found three different dates, the first is 250BC, second is 1336AD and thirdly is 1783AD. As you can see it isn’t a little difference as to when the decree went out that dragons with five claws were for royalty only. One could take a guess and say that all are correct depending who was in power at the time.
Early historic records showed the Chinese dragon had only three claws, but it was then increased to four and during the first Ming dynasty, the Emperor decreed that a five clawed dragon was strictly for the Imperial family and it was a capital offense for anyone but the Emperor himself to wear a completely golden five clawed dragon. The five clawed dragon was worn by the Emperor and the fist and second ranked princes. The four clawed dragon was used for imperial nobility and three clawed dragons were used by lower ranks and

the general public. If someone used the wrong colour or incorrect number of claws for their designation
on a dragon their entire family were killed. I think it is safe to say that the rule was strictly obeyed and there were no rebels running around with five clawed golden dragons on their persons.
An interesting fact about the number of claws found on dragons is that the five clawed dragons originated in China and the further away from China you go the fewer number of claws the dragon would have. For instance, Korean dragons usually have four claws and Japanese dragons have three.
The only real area rug reference I could find was that after China became a republic in 1912, area rugs were widely made using a five clawed dragon, with no deadly consequences.
It can be concluded that unless you own a Chinese five clawed dragon area rug that was made before 1912; You own a beautiful five clawed dragon area rug and not an area rug made for royalty. Sorry to say. I am inclined to say that any area rug made for royalty would be either in a museum or with their descendants and not in the hands of the general public.
Thanks for reading, RugloverMary.