Beautiful Collection of Antique Bessarabian Rugs and Kilims

Antique Bessarabian rugs and Kilims in pile and tapestry technique occupy a unique place among European carpets. Produced during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries under late Ottoman Turkish rule in an area corresponding to modern Bulgaria and Rumania, they stand right on the cusp of European and Oriental carpet weaving. Many of the designs are floral patterns made in a naturalistic western style utilizing brown or black ground, not unlike certain Karabaghs from the Caucauses. But others, particularly flatweaves, reflect the tradition of Turkish kilims from nearby Anatolia, although in a distinctive Bessarbian palette. In either case they are supremely decorative pieces.

Knotted pile carpets from Eastern Europe and Russia have for years been referred to as “Ukrainian,” with their flatwoven counterparts being “Bessarabian,” and their precise origins remaining unknown, although it can most likely be attributed to Romania. Carpet production in Russia is believed to have begun under Peter the Great (1682-1725) in the Imperial Tapestry Factory near St. Petersburg. Knotted-pile and Flat-woven Kilims were woven there in the 18th and 19th centuries most often in the court-favored “French” style.

Carpet weaving in Russia flourished during the reign of Catherine the Great (1762-1796) who commissioned carpets for many of her palaces. These carpets often featured a deep brown-black ground and a dense overall floral design.

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