By Amina Nazarli
Although the arts of carpet weaving that once boomed in Azerbaijan faced difficult times, now Azerkhalcha is breathing new life into nation’s craft traditions.
The state-run Azerkhalcha Company, established under the presidential decree in May 2016, plans to revive Azerbaijan’s weaving traditions and re-introduce the Azerbaijani carpets to the world.
The first branch of Azerkhalcha was opened in the front zone - Horadiz settlement of the Fizuli region. The Horadiz branch has so far manufactured about 100 carpets of various sizes.
Azerkhalcha President, Professor Vidadi Muradov told Trend that these carpets were exhibited at the international trade shows.
The national carpets won the sympathy of visitors and carpet experts at the traditional exhibition and sale held in Hanover in January 2017. Many countries including European and the U.S., take a great interest in Azerbaijani carpets, he said.
“We are constantly participating in international events, exhibitions, symposia, and conferences, and every time we are convinced that interest in Azerbaijani carpets has not diminished, but on the contrary, increased. The Azerbaijani carpet is always in trend. Every foreign visit, every new exhibition strengthens the attention to our work. Along with European countries and the U.S., the countries that are engaged in carpet making also show interest to our carpets,” he said.
By the end of this year, the company will launch nine branches in Shamkir, Gazakh, Agstafa, Tovuz, Agdam, Guba, Khachmaz, Ismayilli and Gabala.
“Overall, it is planned to set up 30 branches of the company, thereby providing about 5,000 people with permanent jobs. With the growing number of branches, the number of woven carpets will increase. Thus, we will be able to ensure the mass export of the Azerbaijani carpets to the world markets,” he said.
Bright, colored and unique Azerbaijani carpets are well-known all over the world for their quality and high artistic value. Wool of lamb or sheep is the major raw materials which make up the famous Azerbaijani carpets.
The country has seven carpet producing regions including Baku, Shirvan, Guba, Tabriz, Karabakh, Ganja and Gazakh and each of them had its own technology, typical patterns and colors.
Calculations show that the carpet weaving will become one of the most profitable spheres of the non-oil sector in the near future, according to Muradov.
Muradov stressed that all the Azerkhalcha carpets are hand woven. "The peculiarity of the carpets is that, starting from wool, color, pattern, artistic composition to the smallest details - this is real Azerbaijani products. And the aim of Azerkhalcha is to supply Azerbaijani products, which demonstrate the historical past, ethnography and culture of Azerbaijan, to the world markets, "he concluded.
Carpets occupy a preeminent place among all the examples of Azerbaijani craftsmanship. In 2010, the Azerbaijani carpet was proclaimed a Masterpiece of Intangible Heritage by UNESCO.
Ancient Azerbaijani carpets are stored at the White House, the U.S. State Department, and many other museums across the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Museum of Art in Philadelphia, as well as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
Azerbaijan’s Carpet Museum established in Baku in 1967, being the first carpet museum in the world is the very place that can familiarize all the interested with the unique examples of the national carpets.
Amina Nazarli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @amina_nazarli
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