By Laman Ismayilova
Azerbaijan marks the 10th anniversary of the inclusion of Azerbaijan's carpet weaving art in UNESCO's Intangible Heritage List.
The country's carpet weaving art is well-known all over the world for its quality and high artistic value.
Public and cultural figures have gathered at the National Carpet Museum to mark this significant date. The event also marked the birthday of the great carpet designer and scholar Latif Kerimov.
Director of the National Carpet Museum, Chairman of ICOM National Committee Honored Worker of Culture Shirin Melikova presented the video based on photographs taken in the museum by the famous photo artist, laureate of numerous prestigious photo contests Agdes Bagirzadeh.
The project entitled "Unpainted woollen carpets in the practice of the Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum" was also presented as part of the event.
The museum displayed the replicas of five classic carpets, including "Shamakhi", "Khila-buta", "Khatai", "Ajdahali", "Nakhchivan", stored in the museum's collection. Natural shades of wool are used in the decor of these carpets.
Meanwhile, this is the earliest technological method of carpet weaving. Jafar Mujiri, a well-known carpet artist skillfully used different shades of wool to weave a carpet dedicated to the poet Saib Tabrizi, who lived in the 17th century. At present, the work is kept in the museum's collection.
Speaking at the ceremony, First Deputy Minister of Culture, Acting Minister Anar Karimov congratulated on the liberation of Karabakh and the glorious victory of the National Army.
The memory of the Azerbaijani martyrs was honoured with a minute of silence.
Anar Karimov congratulated the guests on the 10th anniversary of the inclusion of Azerbaijan's traditional carpet weaving art in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
The minister stressed that the country's carpet weaving art has an ancient history.
In Azerbaijani culture, the carpet is not just an element of home decoration, but also reflects the uniqueness of artistic taste and mentality, combining historical periods and styles that replace each other.
The minister emphasized that for nearly 30 years, Azerbaijan's centuries-old material and cultural heritage, including carpets, has been looted and taken abroad. Many steps have been taken to return unique samples of carpet weaving art to Azerbaijan.
Thus, the museums establish cooperation with foreign museums and sign memorandums on joint activities.
He emphasized that carpet weaving art is of great importance in the international arena.
The holding of the 5th International Symposium on Azerbaijani Carpets in 2017 with the participation of experts from more than 20 countries on "Traditions and Innovations" is a good example of attention paid to the country's carpet weaving art.
Major work has been done for the "State Program for 2022" and activities in this area continue successfully.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation successfully implements numerous projects to promote the country's carpet weaving art at the international arena.
In January, the Foundation hosted the exhibition "New discoveries: new motives in Azerbaijani carpet weaving".
Moreover, the museums and museum branches in the Karabakh region, liberated by the National Army, will be restored in future.
Speaking at the event, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Secretary-General of the National Commission for UNESCO Elnur Sultanov touched upon Azerbaijan-UNESCO relations.
He stressed that the First Vice-President, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva has played an irreplaceable role in the development of the country's partnership with UNESCO.
In September 2004, Mehriban Aliyeva was designated as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Oral and Musical Traditions in recognition for her contribution to the promotion of traditional Azerbaijani music, literature and poetry and her commitment to ideas of UNESCO.
Chairman of Azerkhalcha OJSC Board Vidadi Muradov spoke about Karabakh carpets and the activities of the Shusha Carpet Museum.
The exhibition "Carpets woven from undyed wool in the practice of the Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum" was also presented as part of the event. The event was followed by a press conference.
For centuries, the Land of Fire has been famous for its unique carpet schools. There are seven carpet producing regions in Azerbaijan: Baku, Shirvan, Guba, Tabriz, Karabakh, Ganja and Gazakh. Each of them has special features.
According to their technical aspects, Azerbaijani carpets are classified as flat-woven (pileless) and knotted (pile).
The flat-woven carpets are linked to the earlier period of carpet weaving. 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.
One of the most widely spread types of the flat-weave carpet is "verni". The key pattern of "verni" 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” among the village people. According to ancient beliefs, a dragon featuring carpet would protect the family from foul weather. Agjabedi, Barda, Aghdam, Nakhchivan are the centers of this type of pileless carpets.
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.
The major jejim production centres are Barda, Nakhchivan, Zangilan, Shusha, Shamakha.
Zilli carpet is characterized by stylized forms of animals and vegetal elements. In terms of their composition and pattern, the Azerbaijani zillis 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 carpets. They are 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 of different regions are distinguished by their composition, pattern, and colours. In terms of their technical peculiarities, kilims can be classified into five major groups based on the area of production: Kazakh, Karabakh, Absheron, Shirvan and Tabriz kilims.
Palas is one of the widely spread flat-weave carpets. The palas weaving process consists in passing the weft through the warp by a simple technique.
The weavers decorate the palas by traditional patterns in the form of horizontal stripes commonly used throughout Azerbaijan. As a rule, the palas is not framed by a border.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lamiva993
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