Chinese Art Deco Carpets
For a twenty year period, say 1920 to 1940, the coastal city of Tientsin (Tianjin) in China produced entirely for export and under the aegis of American firms, thick, lush carpets with asymmetrical designs in colors never before used in oriental rugs.
Rather than a symmetrical layout with field and border division, often there is no border at all or border elements intrude into the field or vice verse. The effect is a pars-pro-Toto pattern where a few strategically placed Chinese elements give an exotic oriental cast to the whole.
Walter Nichols was the most prominent American producer in the 1924-1932 period and his factories produced over 3,000 room sized pieces per year. Because of the thick piles and compact weaves, most are extant today.
Some Deco pieces are more extreme and are wholly abstract geometric compositions, mirroring Cubist painting. These pieces are quite rare and are completely non-representational in character. They must have been custom orders rather than woven for stock in the leading department stores.
Deco Chinese carpets are the only affordable antique Art Deco floor coverings available. In constant money terms, they are still priced about what they were in 1930. With exceptional wool, unique designs and striking colors, they are among the best bargains in oriental carpets today.