By Laman Ismayilova
Despite the pandemic, the year 2020 was full of exciting events for the National Carpet Museum. The Carpet Museum delighted art lovers in the virtual space, providing detailed information about its numerous exhibits.
In her interview with Azernews, the director of the National Carpet Museum Shirin Melikova provided insight into the museum's activities over the past year.
"The National Carpet Museum was the first in the country to hold a virtual exhibition last March. The museum displayed new exhibits acquired in 2019. The exhibition was not initially planned to be held virtually. However, the museum staff quickly got their bearings and managed to hold a virtual exhibition amid coronavirus pandemic. Since the quarantine started, the Carpet Museum has been actively working in virtual space, which completely replaced our work in real life. Now, the Carpet Museum successfully maintains a number of headings virtually in three languages, covering all aspects of the museum's activities, as well as the history of local arts and crafts. Among our subscribers are not only citizens of Azerbaijan, but also foreigners. The Carpet Museum actively conducts virtual exhibitions and quizzes, workshops for kids and adults, educational lectures, talks about carpet weaving art with the leading experts in this field from all over the world, and much more," the museum's director told Azernews.
"I would like to especially note "Carpet Stories project" which covered people from all over the world. Within the framework of the project, people sent us photos of their beloved carpets and shared the history behind them. During the Patriotic War, the Carpet Museum provided insight into the pile and pileless carpets of the liberated regions. In addition, our designers prepared "Carpet Map of Karabakh", which turned into the museum's most reposted publication. As the country's regions were liberated, these territories had gradually turned from black to white to color. After the Victory Day, the entire map was finally brimmed with bright colors and ornaments of Karabakh carpets.
Enriched museum collection
In 2020, the Carpet Museum enriched its collection with beautiful pile carpets purchased by the Culture Ministry at Sartirana Textile Show in Italy. The 19th century Guba carpet "Ugakh" was donated to the Carpet Museum, while Karabakh carpet "Chelebi" enriched the collection of the museum's Shusha branch.
"Earlier, the Italian carpet collector Erminio Bottini presented us with a stunning Sor-Sor carpet. This prayer carpet of the Shirvan group was woven in 1811.The carpet never ceases to amaze with its perfect compositional construction and harmony of colors. The 18th century Karabakh carpet was another exhibit donated by the museum. This carpet belongs to the group of late dragon carpets," said Shirin Melikova.
Shusha Carpet Museum
The Shusha branch of the Carpet Museum and Folk Applied Arts (as the National Carpet Museum was then called) was opened on May 19, 1987. It was located in Mehmandarov's mansion - a historical and architectural monument of the 18th century.
The museum was well known for its extensive collection of the fascinating Karabakh carpets, a complete set of women's Karabakh costumes. The traditional costume is distinguished by its patterns inspired by the clothing of the eminent poetess Khurshidbanu Natavan.
After the Armenian occupation, most of the museum's exhibits were saved and transferred to Baku.
Shusha Carpet Museum will be restored. Work is already underway in this direction. The project will be first presented to the public as a 3D drafting.
Partnership and cooperation agreements
In 2020, the Carpet Museum focused on cooperation with the world leading museum organizations.
"I would like to note the exhibition "Echo of Soviet Azerbaijan. Carpet. Embroidery. Poster " held at the Museum of Oriental Art in Moscow in partnership with the Mardjani Foundation. Since it took place back in February, we managed to hold it in a real format," said Melikova.
The Carpet Museum director also touched upon the exhibition "Azerbaijani carpets in the collection of the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art held in Istanbul last March as well as the presentation of the book-catalog of the same name.
"The exhibition was the result of a two-year joint Azerbaijani-Turkish cultural project, initiated by the Carpet Museum. The project focused on the update of the symbols of the Azerbaijani carpets kept in the Istanbul museum under the guidance of prominent national carpet experts. Among them were Doctor of Science Kubra Aliyeva, Honored Artist, Expert of the Academy of Arts Mammadhuseyn Huseynov, Doctor of Philosophy in the field of art history Telman Ibrahimov and Ayten Akhmadova," she added.
Speaking about relations with foreign countries, Shirin Melikova noted that the Carpet Museum won Travelers' Choice Awards for the fourth time in a row last year.
The honorable award proves once again that the professional activity of the National Carpet Museum is highly appreciated by visitors from all over the world.
The Carpet Museum is expected to hold multiple conferences, exhibitions and other events in real or virtual format.
In the near future, the Carpet Museum will mark the 100th anniversary of the carpet artist Kamil Aliyev, who enriched Azerbaijan's carpet weaving art with a realistic portrait genre.
The Museum also continues the carpet production from undyed wool. Five replicas of classic carpets have been already presented to the audience.
The Carpet Museum focuses on the expanding of partnership with other museums. Numerous exhibitions and book presentations are expected to be held this year.
National Carpet Museum, which became the first inclusive museum in the country, will further develop its inclusiveness, accessibility for all groups of the population, including people with special needs.
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