7 Apr 2015

Art in Interiors: Art on Rugs and Tapestries

Historically, expensive textiles have been symbolic of wealth, status and power. Plush carpets and rugs have been used for many centuries as a sign of prosperity, and having one underfoot was considered a luxury which not many had. In paintings too, especially portraits it was common to see expensive rugs as an integral part of the setting. For instance, sixteenth century portraits of wealthy patrons often used carpets to indicate their sophisticated status and their standing in society.

Yellow Oriental carpet in Hans Memling altarpiece of 1488–1490. The "hooked" motif defines a "Memling carpet". Louvre Museum, Source Wikimedia, Art Scene India
Yellow Oriental carpet in Hans Memling altarpiece of 1488–1490. The "hooked" motif defines a "Memling carpet". Louvre Museum, Source Wikimedia

There are numerous varieties of carpets and rugs which are in demand for their textures, patterns and colours, based on the place of their origin, weave, quality of materials used and age. Antique carpets and rugs can be very expensive and are highly coveted. On the other hand, unusual carpets, rugs and tapestries with paintings and designs by fine artists also add an unusual element to home décor and these are also preferred and much sought after by art connoisseurs.

A Navajo rug made circa 1880, source wikimedia, Art Scene India
A Navajo rug made circa 1880
Pop art, abstracts, mythological subjects and contemporary paintings are popular as textile art - paintings by fine artists are also transferred or woven into rugs. Artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein’s art is widely depicted on rugs, where their well-known works are shown. Their bright colours, geometric motifs and patterns, images from popular culture make them trendy accessories that can transform any space. Handmade carpets and rugs are the ones which are more desired as compared to machine made ones. Therefore, when buying rugs designed by fine artists, it is advisable to look for ones that are handmade and ethically produced.

Similarly, tapestries are created by artists – these may have an entirely new series of paintings on them or have an earlier painting woven. It requires an exceptional skill to produce tapestries in order to match the original design and colours. In fact, if you like a particular painting, you can always have it woven into a tapestry by a skilled craftsman. A tapestry should be displayed on the wall to emphasize the colours, design and texture to its advantage.

Although it is more common to have a rug on the floor, there are times when you may want it displayed on the wall instead. This could be because of its size, rarity, vintage value and price. When displaying it on the wall, it is important to highlight it yet take adequate care to ensure no nails or adhesives are used.
This article was published in The Times of India-The Address recently.

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