Belgium Tapestries and Rugs and Antique Rugs from Belgium – The modern-day nation of Belgium, located in the lowlands of Northern Europe, consists of two culturally distinct regions with two very distinct traditions: Flanders and Wallonia. The French-speaking Wallonia forms the southern part of the modern Belgian state, while the Dutch-speaking Flanders forms the northern part. It is this latter region, Flanders, which boasts one of the oldest tapestry-producing traditions in all of Europe. During the Middle Ages, Flemish cities such as Bruges and Ghent were extremely important linchpins in the entire European economic system. Traders from all over Continental Europe and the British Isles flocked to these burgeoning cities to conduct their business.
Often, traders from England, France, and Italy would descend upon Flanders to trade their merchandise for the highly desirable and always beautifully made Flemish weaves. In Medieval European society, owning a piece of Flemish cloth – expertly woven and masterfully dyed – was seen as a status symbol. For the especially wealthy (which, in Medieval Europe, would generally mean the aristocracy) there was an even greater push to acquire Flemish merchandise – most especially Flemish textiles. The gorgeous and typically elaborate antique tapestries of Flanders were seen as being highly desirable by the European landed gentry, who would proudly display large pieces on the walls of their estates. Due to this incredible demand, the Flemish textile industry flourished. In the ensuing decades – and, ultimately, centuries – talented artisans throughout Belgium would continue to produce astonishing tapestries, pieces that remain extremely collectible and desirable even today.