By Laman Ismayilova
National Carpet Museum will represent Azerbaijan at the Selvedge World Fair 2021, a celebration of cloth culture and creativity
The Selvedge World Fair takes place over the course of five days from August 21 to September 4.
The virtual event will represent textile traditions from at least 15 countries, including Azerbaijan, o New Zealand, Japan, India, Egypt, Austria, Great Britain, Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Canada.
The last day of the fair, known as "Creative Day", will feature virtual meetings, film presentations, interviews with artists, master classes and much more.
Director of the National Carpet Museum, chairman of the ICOM Azerbaijan National Committee Shirin Melikova is a member of the selection committee.
The Carpet Museum director will make a presentation on Azerbaijan's carpet weaving art on September 4 as part of the fair.
Shirin Melikova will also discuss the museum's activities, new projects, inclusive programs, the development of the art of yarn dyeing and the revival of ancient carpet weaving techniques.
Then the viewers will have a virtual tour of the world's first Carpet Museum led by the head of the museum's International Relations and Innovations Department Firahnaz Musayeva.
The Selvedge World Fair 2021 will also feature a virtual meeting with the national artist Eldar Mikailzadeh in his workshop.
The carpet master will talk about the preservation and development of carpet weaving traditions in Azerbaijan.
Over 30,000 textile enthusiasts will visit Selvedge World Fair 2021 to learn more about the cultural heritage of different countries.
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, Agjabadi. 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. Agjabadi, 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 images of large elements in the shape of big lozenges, paired horns, and 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 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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