Arraiolos Rugs are quality embroidered textiles that are inseparable from the history and daily life of the municipality of Arraiolos.
Ancient art made from the combination of many “types of knowledge” and the same “know-how” that highly-skilled artisans knew how to build. This globally-recognised artistic expression occupies a prominent place among the arts in Portugal. Its origin in Arraiolos has a centuries-long history, with the earliest written reference dating from 1598, but with recent documentary and archaeological research indicating that the origins of the production of this artisanal and artistic expression from the village of Arraiolos are even older.
In fact, the study of the samples collected in the pits excavated in the Praça do Município, conducted by the Laboratory of the Museu D’Arqueologia de Catalunya in Barcelona, identified the presence of sheep wool, with traces of dyes left by the root of “Rubia tintorum L.”, one of the plants used in dyeing.
Regarding the origin and history of the Arraiolos Rug, we know that our village had all the conditions for the development of this craft. It was situated in a livestock region, where the production of wool was prominent. Almost all farmer inventories include significant quantities of this product at various stages of preparation. On the other hand, the village had important textile activity.
At the release of the 1573 Sisa tax, of the 122 residents of the urban centre with their profession indicated, 31 (25%) were involved in activities related to this branch of industry: 18 weavers, 7 carders, 2 fullers, 2 shearers, 1 dyer and 1 tanner. The inventories themselves highlight the importance of these activities among the population as a whole.
The fabrication of rugs required almost all these professions, whether in the preparation of the wool and its colouring, or even in the production of the base on which the embroidery was performed.
The “Arraiolos Rug” is a rich legacy that must be preserved.
The Town Council of Arraiolos has promoted several actions in order to better recognise and defend the “Arraiolos Rug” as an element of our cultural identit