Animal rugs are to be found in rather large numbers in the museums and private collections. Human figures seldom are depicted and the animal forms do not point to the chase. They were woven in Persia and also in India and are usually of silk with silver threads interwoven, but some are of wool.
Perhaps the most perfectly preserved specimen is in the Poldi-Pezzoli Museum in Milan. In material, in technical perfection and in the soft shining texture of its wool it is exceptional. It is rich in Chinese motifs, such as flying clouds, cranes and the Tschi. Persian genii are also included in the designs.
In the Stieglitz Museum in Leningrad is a magnificent specimen of an animal rug. It is of silk and the center of the field has a round medal-lion with curved edges. The corner areas hold vines and playing among them are falcons and various birds. An interesting border is formed of inscriptions in cartouches.
Dr. F. Sarre in his "Rugs of the Middle Ages From Asia Minor and Spain" gives a picture and a description of an animal rug of the first half of the fifteenth century. It is a fragment which was found by Dr. Bode in Rome. Two rigidly-conventionalized animal figures are represented in each diamond-shaped lozenge, and seem to show the oft-recurring Chinese motif of the struggle between dragon and phoenix.
( Originally Published Late 1900's )