Rug Origins: Colombian Rugs - Arsin Rug Gallery
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Rug Origins: Colombian Rugs

Colombian weavers inherited the skills to craft colorful rugs even to this day. (Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash)

Weaving plant and animal fibers into fabrics have been a part of Colombia’s rich Andean heritage since the beginning of human civilization in South America. It’s not surprising that textile is one of the country’s top exports to the United States and in neighboring regions. What may come as a revelation, however, is the increasing demand for Colombian rugs in the interior design industry.

Muiscan Art and El Dorado

The first Muiscan weavers were inspired by the colors of their environment. (Photo by Michael Baron on Unsplash)

The Muisca tribe were the first people to occupy ancient Colombia from 600 to 1600 CE during which they prospered alongside other civilizations like the Incans and Mayans. Muiscan men excelled in warfare, agriculture, and trade while the women mastered weaving that allowed them to make different kinds of fabrics. These, in turn, were made into clothing and rugs used both as ornament and protection from the elements.  

The design patterns Muiscan women incorporated in their weaving were based on spiritual beliefs. Most of them featured ‘transformational’ elements interpreted from visions of shamans like human figures with bird heads and animals showing exaggerated features like fish with really large eyes. The color palette often used was also inspired by the tribe’s environment and religious practices. It was customary for them to honor their rulers with gold and other precious stones which sparked the legend of El Dorado or what most people call the ‘city of gold.’ Today, these bright and earthy colors are highly sought after in designer carpets which make Colombian rugs a favorite among many interior designers.

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