Beijing Carpet Factory

Beijing Carpet Factory has been developed into what it is today from a carpet producers’ co-operative. It had only a few scores of workers in the early years after liberation. The factory now has over 2,100 workers and staff members, of whom 55 per cent are women. It produces more than 40 varieties of products, including carpets of traditional Beijing style, artistic designs and floral patterns.

The workers and staff members of the factory have made great efforts to inherit and develop the traditional arts in carpet weaving. At the same time, they have renovated and replaced some old equipment and technique which were low in working efficiency but high in labour intensity, such as cleansing and dyeing of woollen yarn. They have al-so replaced hand-operated scissors. All this has greatly improved the quality of the products and the efficiency in production.

Beijing Carpets

China is famous for carpet-making which dates back to about 3,000 years ago. The people of Beijing learned this craft from the Tibetans in the Qing Dynasty. The demand for Tibetan carpets was so pressing that more and more craftsmen came to the capital city and settled down. Thus the carpet industry flourished.

Of all the carpets made in Beijing, the “Temple of Heaven” brand carpets are among those highly acclaimed in the world market. Their craftsmanship and designs are superb and outstanding due to the craftsmen’s great efforts to combine traditional folk art with modern technology.

Nowadays, Beijing produces many carpets, each of which has its own feature both in design and quality. Carpets with motifs symbolizing Happiness and Longevity are always popular. There are those with distinctive, mythical motifs such as dragons, phoenixes and unicorns, while some others are modelled after ancient Buddhist themes.

In 1903, Beijing carpets won the first prize in the International Exposition held in the United States for the novelty of their designs, fine craftsmanship as well as durability. At present, Beijing is still up-holding this fine tradition. The art of carpet-making is now being further perfected by new designs and ever-improving technology in spinning, dyeing, weaving, cutting and washing.

There are three steps in carpet-making: designing, weaving, shearing and clipping.

Designing: Pattern designing of a carpet has a direct bearing on the quality and value of the product. Chinese carpet designs are mainly drawn from the decorative patterns in architecture, that is the patterns on beams and window frames. Some designs are inspired by things in nature. The latter is typified by the Chinese floral pattern. In general, such design patterns confirm to the ideas and style of Chinese classical art. Contemporary ideas have found their way into carpet designing in recent years, adding to the artistic value of Chinese carpets.

Weaving: Wool must be carefully selected, classified, combed and rid of any impurity before it is spun into yarn. The yarn is then dyed in different colours as dictated by the design patterns. Delicate workmanship is needed for the weaving process. A carpet is usually hand-done by four workers weaving in unison. They must weave uniformly to ensure that the pattern and shape of the carpet come out evenly and undistorted. These carefully hand-done carpets can stand wear and tear. They can be washed and exposed to sunlight without fear of its colours fading.

Shearing and Clipping: Once woven, a carpet is sheared and clipped so that the design pattern stands out in relief. It is then bathed in a special solution and dried, which adds to the lustre of the carpet.

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