Irish Carpets, Bessarabian Kilims, and Other European Rugs Available at Nazmiyal Auctions
Although rug making workshops in Persia enjoy a rich history and widespread fame, their influence was not limited to the Eastern hemisphere. Persian rugs spread to Europe following the Crusades in the 11th century CE, and they soon became a valued commodity in wealthy households. Over the next several centuries, European weavers in all corners of the continent were inspired by Persian techniques to create their own distinctly European rugs. These works incorporate global stories of commerce, culture, and innovation.
Nazmiyal Auctions’ upcoming sale of rugs and carpets will offer nearly 200 lots of quality spreads, including notable European rugs from Ireland, France, Spain, and beyond. Here are some of the top lots.
Irish Donegal Rugs
Widespread production of Irish rugs began during the mid-19th-century in the wake of the Great Famine. Local craftspeople helped revive the art, prompting a new wave of Irish rugs. Many were made in the County Donegal, located in the Northern and Western Region of Ireland. Rug makers in Donegal felt the influence of their era’s social and political trends. As a result, many Irish Donegal rugs eschewed English influence until the dawn of the Art Nouveau movement. Instead, weavers embraced Celtic folklore and traditional Irish motifs. This created a distinct style that closely mirrors Eastern designs.
An antique Irish Donegal rug is on offer with Nazmiyal Auctions this February (lot #8025; estimate: USD 20,000 – $30,000). This Art & Craft rug from circa 1900 uses strong shades of crimson and pale green, along with branching cream and gold motifs.
French Aubusson Rugs
France was among the first European countries to embrace rug manufacturing after trading with Persian weavers. Since tapestry weaving was already a well-established and respected art in France, the transition to rugs was a natural progression. Aubusson, a town in central France, was the epicenter of this increased rug production. It enjoyed the patronage of Louis XV, Louis XVI, and Napoleon I, all of whom commissioned dozens of quality carpets and kick-started a national appreciation for rug weaving. Flat-woven Aubusson area rugs often catered to the taste of these rulers. They featured bright flowers and rosettes, crowns of leaves, and elaborate garlands.
Nazmiyal Auctions will soon present a square French Aubusson rug from circa 1800 (lot #8103; estimate: $10,000 – $15,000). The piece features tessellated shapes rendered in delicate shades of pink, red, orange, and green.
Romanian Bessarabian Kilim Rugs
Bessarabia, a region of Eastern Europe, has been part of Moldavia, the Ottoman Empire, Russia, Romania, the Soviet Union, Ukraine, and Moldova at various times of its history. This contested area has felt the push and pull of various regimes and military acts, resulting in a complex history defined by contact with multiple cultures. Weavers in Bessarabia thus carry rich traditions and a distinct weaving style. Flat-woven kilim rugs were likely introduced by the occupying Ottomans. Local weavers used the technique to incorporate Neoclassical elements and folk styles, often departing from the color schemes and patterns that were popular elsewhere in Europe. Bessarabian kilim rugs frequently feature embroidered flowers on stark brown and black backgrounds.
One such Romanian Bessarabian kilim rug will come to auction this February (lot #8068; estimate: $3,000 – $5,000). This mid-20th-century piece features finely-embroidered flowers and a courtship scene against a solid black background.
Nazmiyal Auctions will present nearly 200 additional lots in the upcoming Fine & Decorative Antique, Vintage & Modern Rug Auction. The sale starts at 11:00 AM EST on February 26, 2023. Visit Nazmiyal Auctions to view more European rugs and register to bid.
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