Stunning Vintage Portuguese Needlepoint Rug, Country of Origin / Rug Type: Portuguese Rugs, Circa Date: 1940 – This cheerful and elegant Portuguese needlepoint rug will brighten any space, but there is much more to this rare piece than its sunny disposition. This carpet was created in the 1940s using a traditional handcraft that has an important story in the history of the people of the village of Arriolos.
The story of this carpet began in the Renaissance in 1492 when Queen Isabella expelled the Moors and Jews from Spain. Needlepoint was an art form that was popular in Spain during this time. It was used to create furnishings and upholstery. When the Jews and Moors were expelled, they boarded ships destined for faraway lands. A group of them landed in Arraiolos, Portugal, with little means to make a living. Many of the women brought their needlepoint skills with them and began creating carpets.
Needlepoint rugs are still an important tradition in the village of Arraiolos. Women could often be seen gathered in groups socializing while they created their carpets or sitting in the doorways of their houses. It was a social activity where the women gathered together to create beautiful pieces of art to supplement the family income.
There was never a mass production of these carpets, and it remains a home art and craft that is a traditional part of Portuguese culture. Arraiolos is the center of this historical craft. Each one of these needlepoint carpets took many months to create, with each stitch created by hand.
Each Portuguese needlepoint carpet is a unique expression of the artistic talents of the person who created it. It is the culmination of many hours of hard work and skilled hands. Needlepoint is similar to embroidery; only it is worked on a jute or linen canvas using thick wool. The placement of different colors creates the design.
The needlewomen of Arroiolos hold a special place in Portuguese history, and their designs are absolutely stunning. The designs of the carpets mimic Spanish azulejo tile designs. These famous, hand-painted designs often grace the architecture throughout Spain and Portugal.
This is an exceptionally large carpet and took a tremendous amount of work. You can see many of the typical characteristics of a Portuguese needlepoint carpet in it. The work uses a simple color scheme that highlights yellow, accented by an occasional brown flower center. The design has a characteristic design of the azulejo tiles. The design looks to be a central tile with two half-tiles on either side, much as you would see on a wall.
This is a unique and fascinating glimpse into a people and culture that has a special place in history. The colors and designs in the vintage carpet are captivating. This is a rare piece that is an excellent example of mid-century Portuguese needlework and is a rare piece of artwork. It would be a perfect piece for someone who wants something of historical significance and a bit out of the ordinary in a carpet.