Bessarabian Rugs in History
During the 18th and 19th centuries French Aubusson rugs and English needlepoint rugs had become highly fashionable amongst the Russian royal family. In time the fashion for these rugs spread to the nobility and large sums of money began to be flow out of Russia for the importing of these costly rugs from France and England. The later two countries were the 19th century imperial rivals of Russia in what was then known as the "Great Game" in which the imperial powers competed for the control of Persia, Afghanistan and Central Asia. In order to stop the drain from the Russian treasury to it's rivals, it was decided to make copies of Aubusson rugs and English needlepoint rugs in Bessarabia a province of south western Ukraine where there was an indigenous rug weaving tradition. However the rug weavers of Bessarabia made rugs according to their folk traditions. The French Aubusson and Savonnerie rugs on the other hand were made from paintings made by fine artists. These paintings were converted to very precise loom drawings which the French weavers had to follow precisely. The Bessarabian weavers being unfamiliar with such a planned method wove the French and English patterns in their own spontaneous way. The Bessarabian rugs began to take on a warm less formal look which was quite distinct from the French and English rugs.