Rya rug, Finland, 1931, 163 x 122cms

  • 20200317_124633
    • 20200317_130158
    • 20200317_130008
    • 20200317_125829
    • 20200317_125812
  • £650.00

    Ryijys rug, Finnish 1931 Also known as rya

    This is in original condition. The design comes from the school of Märta Måås-Fjetterström, a modernist in a Scandinavian movement established in the late 19th century with an interest in authentic crafts, cf English Arts and Crafts Movement.

    size(cm): 163 x 122

    size(ft): 5’4 x 4′


Product Description

Rugs known as ryijy (Finnish) or rya (Swedish) are a unique type of weaving from these two countries from late 19th to mid 20th century. I have found two specialists to advise on this rare example.

Igor Honkanen: “The design is most probably one of the Friends of Finnish Handicafts, a company which was the biggest supplier of the designs and the materials for the ryijy and also many other textiles.They sold the kits including the designs and the materials. They had many artists who designed models. They also organised the textile design competitions to get new and fashionable models for their business. This Ryijys design is typical of its time, sort of national romantic design.”

Gavin Strachan: “The design is influenced by the modern movement of Märta Måås-Fjetterström who was an acolyte of Lilli Zickerman, Sweden’s William Morris, and who started her workshop in 1919.  In Sweden, the combination of the 1870s economic crisis and a big population increase led to employment problems and emigration – so the government supported salaries, but it also encouraged crafts via craft schools which included weaving. Funds from the state went to Handarbetets Vänner, formed in 1874, but it was only towards the end of the 19th century, that people began to take an interest in the cultural significance of craftsmanship rather than its economic benefits. Influential in this was Lilli Zickerman, mentioned above, who from 1897 ensured that output should be on a high aesthetic level as well as being good quality in terms of design and materials.  She promoted the use of vegetable dyes rather than aniline dyes as she said that the latter gave a “screaming” result.” 

Condition: This example is in exceptional condition as it has never been walked on, having been hung on a wall, apparently since new. There is a cotton fringe probably added when it was new but not part of the structure. Pile is therefore in mint condition. Slight gentle fading of the reddish pink. Dated 1931 and signed or perhaps marked as a wedding gift for RA or this may be the weavers signature.

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