By Laman Ismayilova
The Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum continues to thrill art lovers with unique exhibits. This time, the museum showcased colorful carpets woven on the basis of art works by People's Artist of Azerbaijan Tahir Salakhov.
Tahir Salakhov, one of the most prominent representatives of the Azerbaijani art, is the vice-president and honorary president of the International Association of Plastic Arts of UNESCO, the vice-president of the Russian Academy of Arts, People's Artist of the USSR, Azerbaijan and Russia, and the winner of a number of high awards, including the State Prize of the USSR and Azerbaijan.
The world-renowned artist, who sensitively catches the rhythms of life and is able to listen and hear the time, Salakhov is the master of portraits, landscape pictures, still-life paintings and large many-figured paintings.
Let's take a closer look at the portrait carpet depicting Azerbaijani poet Mirza Alakbar Sabir. The portrait, characterized by a deep psychological character, realism, and high artistic and emotional language, represents a poet who is in deep thought about the fate of his people.
The ornamental border surrounding the portrait carpet is designed in accordance with the color scheme of the central field and severe realism style. The border is adorned with ulduzlu zanjir (star chain) patterns created by a combination of rhombuses and stars.
The Carpet Museum also displays portrait of the Russian composer Dmitriy Shostakovich.
The portrayal of the world-famous composer in deep thoughts as well as his rich and sensitive inner world are full of creative energy. The central field and the border are in harmonious combination. The portrait is surrounded by kufi main border, often used in Guba-Shirvan carpets, and decorated with almagulu and mollabashi stripes.
"The Maiden Tower" carpet is another part of the Land of Fire triptych. The carpet sketch author is the artist Elyar Guliyev.
Maiden Tower has a monumental appearance in Tahir Salahov`s unique style. The flame tounges rising above the tower play a significant role in the color scheme of the composition. The main border's color scheme and patterns are in harmony with the central field. The Maiden Tower is surrounded by motifs symbolizing seagulls in flight and anchors.
"Dede Korkut" carpet has been woven at the initiative of People’s Artist Eldar Mikayilzade.The color scheme of the portrait enabled to transfer it to the carpet and to add a national flavor with the help of classical ornaments.
The portrait of a wise elder man stands out by its spiritual and monumental nature.
The bottom part of the portrait is decorated with the elongated medallion called ketebe. Islimi, bulud, yarpag, and Shah Abbasi ornaments adorn the border surrounding the central field. The elegant cypresses, symbols of honesty and inflexibility appear rhythmically among the patterns.
Meanwhile, the Carpet Museum stores over 14,000 exhibits of the finest Azerbaijani carpets.
The museum hosts multiple events, including international symposiums, conferences and various exhibitions.
In 2019, the museum received national status for its significant contribution to the popularization and promotion of the Azerbaijani Carpet Weaving Art.
In 2020, the Carpet Museum enriched its collection with beautiful pile carpets purchased by the Culture Ministry at the 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.
The Carpet Museum also focuses on cooperation with world-leading museum organizations.
Moreover, the Carpet Museum won Travelers' Choice Awards for the fourth time in a row last year.
Carpet-weaving art is considered an integral part of Azerbaijani culture and craftsmanship. Azerbaijani carpets are stored in many prestigious museums and private galleries around the world.
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 type 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 the ancient believes, 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 centers 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 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 colors. 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.
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