Nichol's Carpet, or Chinese Art Deco Pile Rug

   Chinese Art Deco rug, or Nichols Carpet
  Chinese Art Deco rug, or 'Nichols Carpet'

During the 1920s and 30s the Chinese became known for exquisite, handmade carpets heavily influenced by the flowing French Art Deco style, which differed greatly from the angular art deco style found in the United States and the rest of Europe. The Chinese rugs were infused with bold colors such as fuscia, gold, lime green and emerald, and filled with images having a distinctly Asian flair. Although the rugs were produced in China, oddly enough, they were mostly the creation of an American entrepreneur and ex-patriot living in the port city of Tianjin. His name was Walter Nichols.

Nichols Carpet (detail)   
Nichols Carpet (detail)

Nichols was a wool grader by trade. In 1920 he moved to China where he worked for an American wool importer. Soon after, he started what became the largest rug production company in China. So proud was he of his rugs and their acceptance, a 1924 brochure claimed “rugs produced by the W.A.B. Nichols Company are known as the most durable and beautiful product of the Chinese weavers art and adorn the homes of people all over the earth.” He wasn’t far off. His rugs became so dominant in the world marketplace, Chinese Art Deco rugs became known as “Nichols Carpets.”

Featured is a Nichol’s Carpet. Examine the large field and you’ll find wonderful floral motifs, which for centuries were the favorite subjects of Chinese painters. The peonies and mums in this carpet give it the feeling of a painting, except the background doesn’t reflect the whiteness of paper, but instead, the rust, orange, green, purple and turquoise of finely dyed wool. Yet, this rug isn’t memorable just because of its motif and color. It presents us with proof human beings can adapt and thrive, even in completely foreign circumstances.

(Product SOLD)

Nichols Carpet