Reportedly from the Imperial Palace in Nanking, this magnificent and rare voided silk velvet floor cover is amongst the largest of such carpets known. Most Chinese velvet carpets are decorated with floral décor and it is unusual to find a velvet carpet featuring official dragon imagery. The large scale, imperial five-claw dragons and yellow ground of this carpet indicate it was used in a formal palace setting, possibly an audience hall or throne room.
As with official court costumes, the Imperial Household Agency was responsible for ordering palace furnishings and regulating their correct use within the public rooms and royal residences. The main centers for the production of luxury silk carpets were in South China (where the best silk was produced) in cities like Nanking, Chang-Chou and Hang-chou.