A Beautiful Modern Geometric Swedish Inspired Rug, Country of Origin: Modern Indian, Circa date: Modern – Diversity generates creativity and this amazing modern area rug from India is proof. Woven in India but inspired by the iconic Swedish rugs, you can discover elements of both types of craftsmanship.

This modern rug presents a variety of rectilinear elements in contrasting colors. Although the color pattern is basically symmetrical, its regularity is shaken up by the abundant use of horizontal abrash fibers throughout the piece. The effect is enhanced by thin woven lines reinforcing the horizontality. In geometric contrast, pale vertical borders divide the pattern into columns.

One of the most enjoyable characteristics of Sweden-inspired Indian carpets is that one equals three. In an aesthetic sense, one carpet projects a simple image when viewed from a distance. A closer view reveals visual surprises in texture, weave, and color details. The macroscopic view is the most amazing, presenting a new field of tweedy pixilation. This carpet, in all of its angular glory, appears to present a curvilinear feature in the vertical bands: a double helix winding its way down. But, when you analyze the design more closely, you see that the curves were an optical illusion created by evenly spaced narrow bars along the length of each vertical band. It’s a trompe l’oeil Indian/Swedish style!

A brief history of India’s discovery of Swedish and Scandinavian carpet design is challenging to describe briefly. While people have made area rugs worldwide for millennia, migration and trade have promoted the exchange of new ideas. Oriental carpets became popular across the Middle East extending to the Far East, each region specializing in its own yarns, dyes, and weaving techniques. India’s carpet industry didn’t bloom until Mughal Akbar the Great invited scholars, poets, and artisans from all reaches of his empire to join his court. Especially fond of Persian carpets, he brought weavers in to establish training centers and workshops.

Scandinavia had a long history of rug weaving, boosted by the fact that textiles were easier to clean that furs. The European market, mesmerized by the intricate designs and durability of Oriental carpets, couldn’t keep up with the demand from wealthy patrons, so more cheaply made rugs had to fill the gap. The industry in India and other centers lagged behind.

With its independence in 1947, India renewed its carpet production by upgrading with new influences. Introducing Scandinavian techniques as well as the reputation for modernistic designs taking advantage of old folk motifs, India found success with what became known as Swedish-style carpets.

This piece makes use of horizontal abrash squares in soft tones of dim grays, bisque, and charcoal. Although the palette uses Nordic tints, you can see a surprising reminder of Islamic architecture in the carpet’s longitudinal outer border. The ablaq technique of alternating rows of light and dark stone was commonly used in the architecture of North Africa, Spain, and the Levant dating back to the 8th century. The typical ablaq pattern in archways is red and white, represented in this rug with light muted tones.

The more you know about the history of a textile, the more you can appreciate how to best showcase it in your own setting.

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