Beautiful and Rare Antique Ukrainian Rug, County of Origin: Ukraine, Circa Date: Late nineteenth century – A lioness rests peacefully, but still watchful, in the center of this rare piece from late 19th century Ukraine. Two lion cubs suckle as she rests. This gorgeous rug is a beautiful piece of artwork, but when you delve deeper into its symbolism, this collectible tells a much larger story.
The style of the rug is similar to French Savonnerie rugs of the time. Savonnerie rugs were popular among the aristocracy and nobility of the French Court. They also influenced artwork throughout the world, including Ukraine. The Ukrainians developed their unique style that included formal floral elements similar to the rugs of the French Courts, but the floral elements are often brighter and in vivid colors. This rug follows the familiar medallion pattern, and the artist included elements that mimic the architecture of the time.
The rug has the appearance of looking through a round window opening to a vignette. The size of the rug would suggest that it was a commissioned piece and might have been for a public building or large private estate. It is an exquisite piece that shows the idea of strength in the musculature and power of the lioness.
The lion holds a special symbolic meaning for the people of Ukraine. The Ruthenian Lion or Ukrainian Lion has stood as a symbol of power since the 14th century. In Lviv, it appears on the crest of Prince Vladislaus II of Opole. The Ruthenian lion is typically pictured in gold, rampant, against a blue background. In 1848, this symbol was adopted to represent the National Liberation Movement during the Austrian Liberation by the Supreme Ruthenian Council in Lviv. The Ruthenian Lion in gold on a blue background continues to stand for solidarity and freedom from oppression in Ukraine.
The lion continues to symbolize courage and dignity for the Ukrainian people. You can find lions in architecture throughout Lviv and other Ukrainian cities. In this rug, the lioness protects and feeds her young, which might symbolize protecting and nourishing the future of Ukrainian power. This rug is an exceptionally rare find, and the message stands as an important one today for the people of Ukraine. We are proud to offer this piece from our collection to yours.