Arcadia and Sheepskin Rugs
Arcadia is where the first sheepskin rugs began. It is a region of Greece, which in Ancient times was thought to be inhabited by the Greek god Pan. Nicolas Poussin, one of the best landscape painters during the European Renaissance, often painted Arcadian pictures depicting scenes of shepherds, such as this one to the right. In it, classically dressed shepherds find an ancient tomb, with the inscription Et in Arcadia Ego, which means I am in Arcadia. It is a memento mori, a reminder of death, and an exhortation to live while we are alive. Arcadia is also associated with a pastoral utopian setting, immune to vice and disruption from the outside world. The nostalgia for a simpler time, without Facebook and cities, hearkens back to a Golden Age of human civilization, when man lived off the land, with his sheep for meat and sheepskin boots, his oranges to be plucked from trees and constant sunshine and satisfaction to be derived from such a beautiful natural landscape. This is an idealized version of Arcadia which carries nearly two thousand years of symbolic resonance. And since you can't have Arcadia without sheep and shepherds, it is also what a sheepskin rug represents.