The History of Aubusson Rugs
Owning and operating an oriental rug cleaning plant gives you lots of opportunities to see and restore some beautiful pieces of woven art. One of the styles of rugs we see regularly is Aubusson rugs. So the following article is some history of Aubusson rugs and how they have evolved over time.
The term Aubusson is synonymous with a flat woven French carpet even though rugs with a pile are also made in this region of France. These rugs have been made for centuries and used by French leaders such as Louis the XV, Napoleon, and Louis the XVI. The town of Aubusson is located in France about 200 miles south of Paris on the Creuse River. The date of when these rugs started being produced is not known exactly but many experts believe it could be as early as the 15th century. This area of France has been known for centuries for its rugs and fine tapestries.
Vintage Aubussons would typically be quite large such as 10’ x 17’ and have a soft feel. They are known for their ivories, pastel blues, and pastel dusky rose colors. They will typically have a floral motif, geometric designs, or architectural patterns. Aubusson rugs, especially vintage ones, are abundant in larger sizes and are rarely found in smaller sizes. The history of this dates back to when the ruling class would commission a rug. They wanted room sized rugs rather than several smaller less impressive rugs. They also wanted people to admire them as a work of art rather than just a floor covering. As a side note, these rugs became so popular that during the Kennedy administration, First Lady Jackie Kennedy, had some French Aubusson rugs put in the Red Room and Green Room of the White House.
Today Aubusson style rugs and tapestries are made at the Saint-Jean Factory which is located in Aubusson France. China is also producing an excellent quality tapestry in the Aubusson style. The difference is that the China product will not have a linen lining. The Chinese rugs are made from wool with original French techniques, design, colors and are of high quality. They are woven in a style that is similar to Kelims (also spelled Kilims) in that the warp threads form slight ribs across the rug. Even though these rugs are a flat weave and have no pile they are extremely durable and can be used on the floor in high traffic situations as well as a wall hanging tapestry.
These rugs should be cared for properly by a respected rug cleaning company to help preserve the beauty and value of the rugs.