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Hokusai at the British Museum

Founded in 1753, the British Museum was the first national public museum in the world. From the outset it was a museum of the world, for the world, and this idea still lies at the heart of the Museum’s mission today. The collection tells the stories of cultures across the world, from the dawn of human history, over two million years ago, to the present. Objects range from the earliest tools made by humans and treasures from the ancient world to more recent acquisitions from Africa, Oceania and the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and Europe, as well as the national collections of prints and drawings, and coins and medals.

The British Museum Rug Collection comprises four designs inspired by works of the master printmaker Katsushika Hokusai, most notable for his iconic work The Great Wave.

The rugs feature an intricate pure silk design on a robust handspun wool ground. They have a fabulous silky sheen that will lighten your room and is soft and cool to the touch.

Each British Museum Collection rug is made to your chosen size and shape to fit perfectly within your space. Our designer Brian Sales will be happy to advise you. They will add a note of exclusivity and exquisite detailing to your scheme.

Our rugs are handknotted by masterweavers in India and have a superfine 196 k.p.i (knots per inch) weave. They are Goodweave accredited and will last a lifetime given a regular cleaning programme.

U.K. Heritage Rugs are the only rug maker under license with the British Museum. Our designs are inspired by original objects held at the British Museum and are exclusive to us and you.

Why not get in touch with us or contact your nearest dealer to discuss your plans further.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Under the Wave off Kanagawa (also known as “The Great Wave”) rug is inspired by a colour woodblock print first published around 1831 in the late Edo period. It is the most famous Japanese print and one of the most famous graphic images in the world. In this dramatic scene, Hokusai captures the moment just before a huge wave is about the crash down onto struggling boats beneath. These were rowed at great speed to transport fresh fish to market in Edo. The potential destruction and action of the scene in the foreground contrasts with the serene stillness of the snow-clad mountain in the distance. The claw-like froth on the wave appears menacing but the composition has been wittily arranged so that its foam seems almost to fall as snow onto the summit of the distant mountain. 

This fabulous rug has a silk design with a robust wool ground. 

Cranes on a Snowy Pine

Cranes on a Snowy Pine rug is inspired by a colour woodblock print, first published in the 1830s. Cranes represent longevity and good fortune and are closely associated with wedding ceremonies and the Japanese New Year. The crane is the most popular origami (paper folding) subject and it is customary to make 1000 paper cranes when making a wish. Today 1000 origami cranes has become symbolic of aspirations to world peace.

This fabulous rug has a silk design with a robust wool ground. 

Carp ascending a Waterfall

Carp ascending a waterfall rug is inspired by a colour woodblock print first published around 1830 to 1835. This is a 'kakemonoe', or print in the form of a hanging scroll. The Chinese legend was that carp which could ascend the Yellow River falls would turn into dragons. In Japan the ascending carp became a symbol of courage and was used especially for Boys' Day (5 May). This print is in Hokusai's 'Chinese' style. The fish are symbolic of perseverance, faithfulness in marriage and good fortune.

This fabulous rug has a silk design with a robust wool ground. 

Bullfinch and Weeping Cherry

Finch on a Weeping Cherry. This rug is inspired by a beautiful colour woodblock print, Uso shidare-zakura, features a bull finch and weeping cherry tree first published in the mid-1830s. It is part of an untitled series known as Small Flowers. Bullfinches (uso) are also known as lucky birds and are given as carved wooden dolls that turn last year’s lies into this year’s truths. The Weeping Cherry symbolises the national character of Japan and is only native to that country. A comparison is drawn between the short flowering season of the cherry and the life of a Samurai.

This fabulous rug has a silk design with a robust wool ground.