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Exhibition: Hearts, diamonds, and tulips Folk ryijy rugs from the 18th and 19th centuries at the Museum of Central Finland


The exhibition Hearts, diamonds, and tulips fills the Art Hall of the Museum of Central Finland with magnificent ryijy rugs starting from mid-June. In Finland, ryijy rugs have been significant utility textiles and their uses have adapted to meet the needs of different times: from a boat and sleeping cover to a bedcover, wedding ryijy, sleigh cover and, finally, a wall decoration. If Finland had a national textile, it would undoubtedly be the ryijy rug.

Exhibition Hearts, diamonds, and tulips at the Museum of Central Finland. Photo: Johanna Rekonen, Museum Of Central Finland

The exhibition showcases Finnish folk ryijy rugs from the 18th and 19th centuries and the changes within different types of ryijy rugs. Finnish ryijy rugs have been valued since the time of Gustav Vasa. He ordered ryijy rugs for his castles from Finland, apparently due to them being held in high esteem. In the 16th century, when ryijy rugs were started to be used in wedding ceremonies, they were made handsome and colourful.

The folk ryijy rug had its heyday at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. The ryijy rugs were an indication of the creative capabilities and sense of beauty of the folk women. Later, in the 20th century, the ryijy rug became a form of textile art. The constant evolvement of and changes in the ryijy rug with the times, needs of the people, and art styles has been typical of the Finnish ryijy rug. That is why it is still going strong.

Most of the ryijy rugs in the exhibition are from the collection of professor emeritus Tuomas Sopanen, but there are also some from the ryijy collection of the Museum of Central Finland. “Oral history tells us that Alvar Aalto designed the Art Hall of the Museum of the Central Finland specifically with the museum’s significant ryijy rug collection in mind, which gives an interesting angle to the exhibition”, tells the Director of Museums Heli-Maija Voutilainen.

Professori emeritus ja ryijykeräilijä Tuomas Sopanen

Professor emeritus Tuomas Sopanenhoto. Photo: Raisa Nerg, Museum of Central Finland

Supplementary programme of the exhibition:


In the summertime, there will be events relating to the exhibition. During the first week of the exhibition, on Thursday 17.6. from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. there is a Ryijy kiosk where one can pop in to ask about ryijy rugs, their designs and designers as well as care and storage. The event is carried out in collaboration with the Craft Museum of Finland and customers’ questions will be answered by curator Sari Jantunen from the Craft Museum of Finland and senior conservator Anne Vesanto from the Conservation Center. On Saturday 19.6. at 2 p.m. professor emeritus Tuomas Sopanen will be present at the exhibition and tell about the ryijy rugs on display. Entrance is free both of these events.

The little ones in the family can get to know the exhibition by doing a fun scavenger hunt and in the craft corner Nappula one gets to try ryijy knots by making a mini-ryijy. Both of these activities are available through the duration of the exhibition.


Further information:

Tuomas Sopanen
040 751 7829

Tuula Vuolio-Vallenius
Intendant, exhibitions
The Museum of Central Finland
040 716 7118


Hearts, diamonds, and tulips
Folk ryijy rugs from the 18th and 19th centuries
At the Museum of Central Finland

The Museum of Central Finland
Alvar Aallon katu 7, Jyväskylä