The city of Amritsar, situated in Northwestern India, became a center of Indian rug and carpet weaving in the nineteenth century when the Maharaja Ranjit Singh annexed Kashmir, the flourishing shawl weaving center. The rise of British supremacy in the 1850s along with the Crystal Palace Exhibit in London, captured the attention of the public and sparked the dramatic development of rug production in Amritsar. Under the influence of European rug importers, the establishment of looms and the availability of fine quality wool from sheep raised in nearby mountains and valleys, the rug weavers of Amritsar adapted their traditional carpet designs to correspond with western tastes and European demand. Antique Amritsar rugs and carpets are characterized by large scale patterns featuring millefleurs designs, mythical beasts and Persian inspired florals, in subdued colors including light blues, yellows, teal, burgundies and mauves. The rich heritage and beauty of antique Amritsar rugs continue to make them among the most decorative components of today's interiors.