Journal

Every rug tells a story: chinoiserie rugs 

29.05.20
Flowers of Virtue designer chinoiserie rug
Flowers of Virtue chinoiserie rug

First of all, it’s a story of our love for design, creative inspiration and exceptional craftsmanship. You’ll find nothing ordinary here. Each chinoiserie rug is the antithesis of everyday home décor.

Styles are created with meaning, always. Detail by detail, colour by colour, each design is inspired by the heritage of East Asian cultures. Embellished with symbolism, our handmade chinoiserie rugs will transport you to the Orient. So, sit back and let us take you on a journey of creation – a journey inspired by the exotic.

Discover our top five chinoiserie inspirations:

  1. Flower power: the ‘four gentlemen’

If you haven’t heard of the ‘four gentlemen’, now is the time. They’re four flowers that hold vital importance in Chinese culture: the plum blossom, orchid, chrysanthemum and bamboo. Together they exude warmth, beauty, optimism and strength.

This quartet of beauties sparked the ideas behind Wendy’s creations of Chinese Garden of Virtue and Flowers of Virtue. Two oriental rugs that celebrate the positivity and strength associated with chinoiserie décor.

Bamboo, you’re a beauty

In Flowers of Virtue, the virtues of purity, uprightness, modesty and strength are naturally portrayed by the ‘four gentlemen’. The bamboo signifies these qualities in abundance within Chinese culture. Its deep roots offer resoluteness and endurance, its tall, straight stems, honour. Not forgetting the hollow interior illustrating modesty and its spartan exterior, chastity. It’s a botanical wonder in Asian cultures.

Flowers of Virtue Graphite
Flowers of Virtue oriental style rug

A riot of blossom

So many of our chinoiserie rugs feature plum blossom and with good reason. Plum blossom is the national flower of China and has sparked the creativity of artists, poets and painters for centuries. First discovered around 2,000 years ago, sweet-smelling and bursting into blossom in the dead of winter, what’s not to love? It symbolises resilience and persistence in the face of adversity. You’ll spot this flower on several of our oriental style rugs, including Chinese Garden of Virtue and Flowers of Virtue.

The ‘four gentlemen’ are completed with the orchid and chrysanthemum. The orchid is known as a noble and elegant bloom in China. It’s such a pretty, exotic flower and is also said to represent good taste. Then there’s one of our favourites, the chrysanthemum. A bloom that opens in the cold autumn air, it demonstrates tenacity in facing adversity and long life because of its health-giving properties. Fabulous flowers are one of the most joyful and abundant features of our chinoiserie rugs and we never need an excuse to add them.

Naturally, exotic florals aren’t our only joie de vivre. You’ll also find we like a dragon or two…don’t you?

 

  1. Embracing mythology: the phoenix and the dragon

Elaborate and ornate, the designs for Good Fortune and Dragon Florals emerged from Wendy’s love of Chinese philosophy and feng shui.

From the ‘king of birds’, the phoenix, to the steadfast and enduring pine tree, every design element is considered. The phoenix symbolises good fortune, opportunity, peace and virtue in Chinese mythology. It’s a benevolent creature because it doesn’t harm any insects and each of its body parts is meant to represent a virtue – sincerity, righteousness, propriety, knowledge and benevolence.

Good Fortune chinoiserie rug design
Good Fortune chinoiserie rug

In our Good Fortune chinoiserie rug, the phoenix is accompanied by the dragon. The dragon is one of the most powerful Chinese symbols and is ranked first amongst mythical beasts. An olive branch of hope to many in difficult times, it denotes peace on earth and good fortune. Of course, there’s very little that’s beastly about the dragon in Asian culture. Dragons can bring rain to parched ground, representing abundance and relief. So, it feels right to make the dragon centre stage in several chinoiserie rugs, including the maximalist style Dragon Florals.

Dragon Florals blue rug by Wendy Morrison Design
Dragon Florals oriental rug
  1. All about the birds

When there’s an opportunity to add birds to a rug design, we’re going to take it. Whether it’s cranes for long life or peacocks for beauty. In graceful flight or perched on a branch, they’re an upbeat and joyful reminder of nature in art. Birds make it easy to bring the outdoors in.

Add a peacock to the mix

Adored by many, peacocks will forever have the allure of grandeur; a glamorous reminder of a bird prized and kept by the wealthy. Captivating an audience with their grace and effortless beauty, it’s easy to see why Wendy has depicted peacocks in many of our designer rugs. Enlivening our rugs with rich colourful details, peacocks command your attention. Just take a look at Chinese Garden of Virtue and Peacock Palms.

Chinese Garden of Virtue designer rug
Chinese Garden of Virtue chinoiserie designer rug

Cranes for long life

Regarded as the bird of Immortality, cranes have a fabled life of a thousand years in East Asian cultures. So, it made perfect sense to include the crane in the Longevity rug. Symbolising eternal youth, happiness and good fortune, some call it the ‘heavenly crane’. Wendy took great inspiration from this bird, which led to Cranes In Trees. Bordered with gold, this rug has a subtle glamour, enriched with the details of cranes and pine trees. Good Fortune also features a pair of cranes to maximise the characteristics of harmony and long life.

Cranes In Trees chinoiserie rug
Cranes In Trees chinoiserie rug
  1. A Chinese Art Deco vibe: Walter Nichols

Art Deco is an era of art that never fails to impress and can also bring a flavour of the exotic to your home. Have you heard of Walter Nichols? He’s the American born rug designer that brought colour and adventure to his rugs. Synonymous with the Chinese Art Deco period of the 1920s and 30s, his artistry has often inspired Wendy’s designs. Walter Nichols’ use of solid colour and sprays of flowers in diagonal corners inspired Peace, Love & Joy. The eye-catching crimson red centre to the rug, combined with the rich emerald green of orchid leaves, exudes opulence. It’s finished with a soft pink border that forms a gentle frame around the style. Just like Nichols’ work, Peace, Love & Joy, includes traditional Chinese flowers, like the lotus and peony, depicted in an Art Deco idiom.

Peace, Love & Joy rug
Peace, Love & Joy chinoiserie rug

Another rug influenced by Walter Nichols is the Chinese Garden of Virtue. A joyous combination of Chinese philosophy and symbolism. The wide gold border is very Walter Nichols – sumptuous and glamorous right to the edges. In Vogue forever, Art Deco never looks too much, too little, just perfect.

Combined with vibrant colours, chinoiserie art deco rugs bring a liveliness to your space that’s hard to replicate.

 

  1. Escape with colour

Escapism is our go-to remedy at the moment and colour can always help with this. A vibrant reminder of travels afar or to comfort and reassure, different colours mean something to each of us. In our oriental rugs, there’s also greater meaning behind the colours used. For instance, here’s the colour journey of Good Fortune…

Five colours for luck

Five bold, rich colours flourish in the Good Fortune rug design. Why five? Because the number five is lucky in Chinese philosophy and we won’t forgo the chance to bring added luck to your home. The five colours represent the five elements of water, fire, wood, metal and earth. Black denotes water, red fire. Red is also believed to be a sign of joy and fortune, and you’ll often see it at times of celebration.

Good Fortune rug in living room

When gold is more than glamour…The colour gold is a symbol of earth, showcasing glory, wisdom, harmony, happiness and culture. It’s a colour that’s de rigour for anyone who loves vintage furniture and chinoiserie décor as much as we do. Just look at the beauty of Wendy’s latest chinoiserie cabinet find below. You can learn more about colour choices in our Colour Therapy blog.

Gold chinoiserie decor with Flowers of Virtue rug
Gold chinoiserie cabinet styled with the Flowers of Virtue rug

From sacred symbols and mythology to birds and vibrant colours, lose yourself in the imagination of our handmade rug designs. Each one is unique. Each one tells a story.

posted by

Carolyn Parker