Rugs woven by hand in the French villages of Aubusson and Felletin are Aubusson rugs. Early in the 18th century, Aubusson carpets were made especially for the royal residencies of France. Eventually, carpet manufacturers all over France adopted the pile-less tapestry technique of making Aubusson area rugs. Today, any flat, handwoven carpet manufactured in France is called an Aubusson runner.
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The History of Aubusson Carpets
The history of Aubusson wool rugs takes us back to the 14th century. The French town of Aubusson is in the La Marche area situated at the base of Creuse River. The family workshops in town created their first-ever tapestries in the 14th century. The industry prospered when highly skilled and practiced weavers fled from Flanders and settled in Aubusson.
By the late 17th century, Aubusson became known for its exceptional textiles and carpets. These rugs and carpets dictated contemporary fashion in France. The Aubusson runners had designs and patterns that were diverse in their depictions. They spanned over different religious, floral, and pastoral prints that prevailed in the French society. From the 17th century onward, Aubusson area rugs became highly prized due to their splendid designs and top-notch quality.
Highly skilled weavers in Aubusson wove both knotted-pile and tapestry-woven French Aubusson Rugs. This allowed for variation and detail in designs and patterns. A lot of the carpets manufactured in the early 17th century were on Persian and Oriental patterns. With time, their designs evolved and began to reflect the distinctly European style. A lot of the patterns feature elaborate floral patterns.
What are Aubusson rugs Made of?
Most Aubusson carpets are flat-woven with a very low pile height. These rugs are made using the tapestry technique. This method makes the weaving of French Aubusson rugs quick, cheap, and easy. Initially, Aubusson weavers followed the trends of Savonnerie carpets. Over time, these rugs started getting manufactured with floral designs, subdued colors, and simpler patterns. The reason why Aubusson rugs are made in such huge numbers is that they are easy to manufacture.
In the early days, the aristocratic class of France ordered plenty of these carpets for their castles and chateaux. With practice, weavers became more and more skilled. They began to make custom Aubusson area rugs for unusually large places in very little time. They maintained the elegance and aesthetic appeal of these carpets while manufacturing them in large numbers. The designs usually featured (and still do to this day) splendid designs of frames hung with floral garlands. These rugs are soft in colors and resemble the neo-classical look of Greco-Roman arts.
The aristocratic fashion of French Aubusson rugs rivals the popular Oriental designs and Persian patterns. French designers elegantly flat-weave carpets and their timeless patterns can compete with the architectural designs of Versailles. Weavers used acanthus leaves, cabbage rose bouquets and crafted flat carpets with elegance and a fine finish. The French carpets crafted by Aubusson weavers complement the Baroque art of the time.
The soft pastel colors and floral style give these rugs touch of romance and elegance. Even today, French flat carpets are widely admired by top designers and celebrities all over the world.
Why Should You Buy Aubusson Rugs?
Before recent times, the most costly rug sold at a Sotheby’s auction was an antique Aubusson carpet for $1 million. Currently, this carpet decorates the flooring of a Manhattan apartment.
This begs the question: who would buy such an expensive rug and why? The answer is simple. Aubusson rugs are a symbol of class and aristocracy. Anyone looking for a touch of elegance and old aristocratic furnishings would love an Aubusson runner in their home.
These rugs transcended the times of Renaissance and into the modern French period. They are a significant part of the French heritage today. Aubusson runners are costly because they are handmade from expensive French wool. To this day, Aubusson mattings remain a symbol of grandeur and finesse.
The antique French Aubusson rugs are an artwork that has descended from generation to generation in France. They possess a massive historic value for the French and people worldwide. The worth of these antique rugs surpasses any damage caused by decades and centuries of wear. The production of Aubusson carpets still continues in abundance to this day in France. Their production in Aubusson, however, ceased around 1870.
The two-hundred-year span has given the originally made-in-Aubusson French rugs a timeless appeal. This attracts rug enthusiasts from all over the world to admire the work of skilled Aubusson weavers.
Today, the Aubusson runners have evolved into a mix of old-Aubusson and modern contemporary style. The colors are more modern usually with the base tons of bone, deep tan, and cream. On the other hand, the designs and patterns of these rugs remain antique and traditional. In the latest Aubusson mats, you might find accents of French and Persian art.
The Popularity of French Aubusson Rugs
French Aubusson Rugs have gained a lot of popularity, even in rug producing countries overseas. The rugs manufacturing industry in Anatolia has been especially affected by the timeless appeal of these rugs. Turkish designs now feature the bold beauty of Ottoman and Persian art as well as the elegance of Aubusson designs.
Today, antique Aubusson carpets are famously sought by renowned interior designers and end consumers. They look for the early Aubusson patterns made especially for the French nobility. Aubusson carpets are hardly found in small sizes because they were usually custom made for larger living spaces. Through their size and beauty, the French royalty hoped to give the impression of glory and luxury. This way these carpets not only acted as decorative floor covers but also as a work of art to be admired by anyone who enters the room.
Nowadays, Aubusson quality rugs are sold in stores worldwide. India, China, and Pakistan sell copies of Aubusson runners in abundance. The original rugs are made only in France and are comparatively more costly than those made in other countries. French Aubusson rugs are one of the highly desired and highly priced rugs of all time.
What Defines Chinese Aubusson Rugs?
In the late 20th century, high-quality imitations of the coveted Aubusson flat carpets started from China. Along with India, China produced hand-knotted Aubusson carpets with simple designs. The patterns of Chinese Aubusson rugs were a blend of designs from Savonnerie and Aubusson wool rugs. Chinese workshops use Chinese wool and copy the master craftsmanship of the Aubusson weavers. Then China exports Chinese Aubusson wool rugs to different countries.
Chinese Aubusson rugs feature the same grace of French Aubusson carpets but come with modified designs. The Aubusson runners created in China have a mix of French and Chinese architecture. China has further sampled different patterns and created an exclusive blend of Oriental and Aubusson pink rugs.
The Chinese Aubusson wool rugs, however, come without a lining. The prices of these rugs are also lower than those of the original Aubusson carpets exported by France.
How to Clean Aubusson Carpets?
Conventional Aubusson runners are made of wool, silk or a mixture of both. Aubusson wool rugs and Aubusson silk rugs are the most expensive rugs on the market today. You must provide them regular maintenance to keep them from fading and deteriorating with time. You should immediately remove all spills and stains on the carpet.
Do not place Aubusson runners on frequently walked-on floors. They are flat-woven and wither away faster than Oriental or Persian rugs. Antique Aubusson mattings are delicate and fragile. As a result, you must deal with them carefully and never hang them up when they are wet and heavy.
1 - Timely Maintenance
The best way to remove grit from Aubusson runners is to vacuum them on a regular basis. The suction technique of the vacuum is effective for removing sand and dirt from fibers of the carpet. If not regularly cleaned, the debris settles into the pile and causes damage to the fibers of the carpet. This action reduces the life span of French rugs significantly.
Do not use the beater bar or brush attachment that comes with the vacuum. Since the carpet is flat-woven, the suction device should work just fine. Beater bars pull at the fibers of the rug and remove them. Hence, using them causes fraying and lasting damage to the rug.
Make sure you place a rug pad beneath the Aubusson carpet to lift it from the floor. The gap allows air flow into the carpet fibers and prevents the moisture from building into the rug. Rug pads protect the rug from friction against the floor. They also keep the moisture out and allow dirt to fall off from the carpet. To keep the pattern fresh and prevent the colors from fading, keep the rug away from direct sunlight.
2 - Stain Removal
In case of any spillage, blot the stain immediately from your Aubusson matting. Avoid using any commercial cleaning products with strong bleaching agents. The chemicals in these cleaners can cause permanent damage to the carpet, wipe out the colors, and ruin the dyes.
The most effective way to clean a stain off an Aubusson runner is to flush the stained portion of the carpet with club soda. Use a clean piece of cotton cloth or a clean towel to soak up the liquid and remove the stain. Using flavored or enhanced soda might damage the appearance of the carpet. To dry the rug, pull it up and place it on support so that the carpet would dry. Do not lift the carpet and hang it when it is wet. Doing this will pull apart the fibers of the carpet and permanently damage it.
The idea is to let air flow into the fibers of the rug from the top and under the carpet. If you use any dryer or blower to remove the dirt and dry the rug, it will be damaged. Keep in mind that these rugs are very fragile and handle them accordingly. Cleaning solutions such as steam cleaning and dry cleaning can damage the rug. Steam cleaning can cause the dye of the rug to fade. Whereas, dry cleaning tends to leave behind remains that damage the fibers of the carpet.
3 - Cleaning in the Absence of Water
Baking soda is the best agent to clean Aubusson matting. All you have to do is sprinkle some baking soda on the rug from corner to corner. Next, use broom or brush to brush the baking soda into the fibers of the rug. After that, vacuum the soda from the carpet.
Similarly, you can also use salt to clean the rug. Sprinkle some fine grain salt on the carpet and work it into the surface using a broom. Then, vacuum the salt from the runner. Salt eliminates moths and fleas from the foundation of the rug and keeps it clean and tidy.
4 - Takeaway
Are you looking to buy Aubusson Rugs? Do you own one? If yes, then we hope you gave this one a thorough read. From the makings and history of Aubusson carpets to why and how you can purchase them, we hope we were able to tell you everything you need to know about these carpets. For more info on Aubusson mattings, visit our store and help us find you the best Aubusson French carpets for your home.
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