The Ryijy lives On - Finnish Ryijy Textiles 1707-2012

From the Collection of Tuomas Sopanen 22/Jun/2013 - 5/Jan/2014
If one should choose a textile most typical of Finland, it would certainly be the hand-knotted ryijy-rug. For many centuries ryijys have been made by Finnish women (and sometimes also men) and in many homes a ryijy still hangs in a place of honour on the wall bringing a touch of softness and cosiness.


Often it has been and still is the only object adding colour to the otherwise neutral furnishings. One indication of the love of the Finns for ryijys is the multitude of tasks which have been given them in the course of time. Originally they were made for sleeping in boats, and then as coverlets in beds, but then they started to be more decorated and were used as wedding ryijys, in sleighs, as carpets, and for many other purposes. Since the beginning of the 20th century ryijys have also been woven as art textiles, both for homes and for public spaces.

One of the aims of this collection is to show how inventive the women in Finland have been from the 18th century until today and how developed their sense of beauty has been. Ryijys are the best testimony of this. In addition, their gradual development from folk art into internationally appreciated textile art is most interesting. The collector aims to be able to show the development and the beauty of the Finnish ryijys with examples of various types.

This exhibition displays about a third of the collection, which is still growing and now contains 352 ryijys. Maybe the best result of this exhibition would be if people would be interested to make one of these homely and soft textiles for the wall of their own home.