By Laman Ismayilova
Famous for their unique style, Azerbaijani carpets possess cultural and historical value. They are displayed at many prestigious museums around the world, including Metropolitan Museum of Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, the Hermitage and so on.
In 2010, Azerbaijani carpet weaving art was included into UNESCO`s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Azerbaijan`s carpet weavers celebrate their professional holiday on May 5. In 2016, President Ilham Aliyev signed an order on the establishment of the Carpet Weavers Day to honor the work of carpet makers.
There are seven carpet producing regions including Baku, Shirvan, Guba, Tabriz, Karabakh, Ganja and Gazakh. Each of them is distinquished by its own technology, patterns and colors.
As for their technical aspects, Azerbaijani carpets can be classified into two categories: flat-woven (pileless) and knotted (pile). There are several kinds of pileless carpets such as Shadda, Verni, Jejim, Zilli, Sumakh, Kilim and Palas.
Shadda is a flat weave carpet, made primarily in Nakhchivan, Agdam, Gubadly, Agjabedi. The artistic composition of shadda made by complicated whipping, as well as its constituents have a complex form.
Verni is considered one of the most widely spread type of the flat-weave carpet. The major verni production centers are Agjabedi, Barda, Aghdam, Nakhchivan are the centers of this type of pileless carpets.
The main feature of verni carpet is the S-element. Its shape varies, it may resemble both figure 5 and letter S. This element means "dragon" among the nomads and "water". It is believed that a dragon featuring carpet would protect the family from foul weather.
Jejims are woven on simple horizontal looms by narrow stripes 30–35 cm wide and 15–10 cm long. The resulting product is a cloth to be used as a wall carpet, a bedding coverlet, or curtains. Barda, Nakhchivan, Zangilan, Shusha and Shamakha are among Jejim production centers.
Zilli carpet is well-known for stylized animal and vegetal elements, which are very diverse. They feature the images of large elements in the shape of big lozenges, paired horns, various stylized elements.
The Sumakh carpets have become widely spread and recognized over the last few centuries. Since the 18th century, they have been made in the country's Guba and Gusar regions.
The Sumakh carpets feature the diverse stylized vegetal motifs, various geometrical elements such as large hexahedral, square, rhomboid medallions.
Kilim is the most widespread type of flat-woven rugs, made by passing the weft through the warp using the technique of compound interweaving. Kilim is characterized by a slot-like gap (opening) around the geometrical patterns.
The technique of kilim weaving predetermines the pattern shapes in the form of a lozenge, triangle, and trapezium. Images of animals, birds and humans are geometrized in kilims. Kilims are distinguished by their composition, pattern, and colors. In terms of their technical peculiarities kilims can be classified into five major groups based on the area of production: Gazakh, Karabakh, Absheron, Shirvan and Tabriz kilims.
Palas is often decorated with traditional patterns in the form of horizontal stripes commonly used throughout Azerbaijan. As a rule, the palas is not framed by a border.
Unique examples of Azerbaijan`s carpet weaving art are treasured at National Carpet Museum.
Initiated by an outstanding scientist and carpet weaver Latif Karimov, the museum displays some of the best examples of the carpet weaving art.
The new building of the Carpet Museum, designed in the form of a rolled carpet, opened its doors at Baku Seaside Park in 2014.
Today the museum hosts many events, such as exhibitions, international symposiums, and conferences.
Last year, the museum received the national status for its significant contribution in popularization and promotion of the Azerbaijani Carpet Weaving Art.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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