The history of Aubusson rugs dates back to the Renaissance period. The town of Aubusson is located on the banks of the River Creuse in the Creuse valley of central France, about 200 miles from Paris. Flemish refugees most likely set up the first looms in Aubusson in the 1300s. However, tapestry and rug production did not begin in Aubusson until the 16th century.
Aubusson rugs’ history is rich and a significant part of the revival of the arts of the Renaissance period. They were hand woven flat weave wool rugs and tapestries originally based on Turkish designs. In 1665 and thereafter, Aubusson rug designs were based on the motifs of Savonnerie rugs. Prior to this time, Savonnerie rugs were only available to the King, with design and production overseen by the artists and weavers of the royal courts. With Aubusson rug designs mimicking those of Savonnerie rugs, they became available to anyone who could afford them, typically the upper class and sophisticated aristocracy of Europe.
Classic Aubusson Rugs Characteristics
Classic Aubusson rugs were room-sized, and were intended to be works of art, as well as floor coverings. The color schemes typically included ivory, light blue and rose. The patterns most often had architectural decorations, floral designs, or geometric patterns.
The long history of Aubusson rugs would come to an end around 1870 when production of these rugs ceased in the town of Aubusson. However, for more than two hundred years the weavers at Aubusson created beautiful hand woven rugs that were revered throughout Europe. Today, it is still possible to enjoy these rugs as they continue to be replicated in India, Pakistan, China, and Iran.