The pictorial rug was handwoven in Mongolia during the mid to late 19th century.
The rug depicts a natural scene primarily of horses and deer near two rivers amongst mountains, trees, and other vegetation. The color palette is minimal but effective with soft browns, a desirable faded purple, ivory, and a deep oxidized brown/black. The rosette latticed main border features the same palette on an ivory ground and is sandwiched between a bent ribbon minor border and a frame of solid purple.
In addition to its considerable age and pleasing palette, the rug also showcases both artistic and technical merit. A striking mandala-like medallion sits near its center which surprisingly works in providing harmony and balance to the detailed piece. The two rivers flanking the mandala are rendered as ravines and cut a jagged path through the landscape. Heathered gradations of brown, purple, and ivory have been used to create the leaves on the trees which are more apparent in the larger trees but visible in the tiny trees off in the distance atop the mountains. Tiny touches of coral, the color associated with promotion in rank, have been used to highlight the animal's mouths.
The composition is further broken down into multiple scenes rife with symbolism. Horses are prominent near the center and represent strength, prosperity, and high rank. One horse is tied to a large tree to the right of the mandala tied to a tree while other horses to the left and right quickly gallop by with one kicking clouds of purple dust. Spotted deer are often associated with longevity or immortality. Near the top right, a spotted stag sits under a tree while a crane flies above nearby while just below the galloping horse a spotted doe looks up towards a bat. These pairings are associated with wishes for a life of happiness, wealth, and longevity.
The rug is in overall good condition especially considering its significant age and the deep natural oxidization of the dark brown/black tone. There is consistent wear in the bottom third (as pictured). At some point in the past, part of the outer purple ends had been re-woven with a new foundation as well some reweaving of a small area above the tree with the horse tied to it. There is also a small orangish stain in the top border right of the center (as pictured) Otherwise the pile is pretty full with a soft, floppy handle.
These rugs were made in smaller quantities than other weavings in the region and rarer to find especially in this format and subject. Please don't hesitate to reach out for additional images or consultation about this piece.