Simplicity of design, serenity of composition, a limited range of subdued and harmonious colours, usually blue or yellow in many shades. Symbolic motifs characterise traditional Chinese rugs. Frequently recurring designs in Chinese rugs include geometrics such as the familiar meander border; animals including various dragon forms, Fu dogs, storks, cranes, butterflies, and bats; realistic flowers; Taoist and Buddhist symbols; natural forms including clouds, water, and mountains; and many permutations of round medallions.
During the 19th century, rugs were made for export. These usually had a central dragon or ornate floral motif. At the end of the 19th century, aniline dyes replaced natural ones producing harsh and often garish colour schemes, with blue, gold and rose being the most common colours.