Carpet weaving in Azerbaijan
Carpet weaving is one of the most ancient kinds of arts and crafts of Azerbaijan. The archeological data gathered on the territory of Azerbaijan as well as the literature pieces testify that carpet weaving art of Azerbaijan originated in extreme antiquity.
Carpets and carpet related items made in Azerbaijan have been repeatedly eulogized in many historical books, classical literature and folklore.
An Azerbaijani carpet is impossible to describe. You must see it with your own eyes: it has incorporated the entire coloring of Azerbaijan nature - blue of the sky and greens of woods, deep shadows on of mountains slopes and whiteness of snow-capped peaks. Magically shimmering carpet colors have absorbed the ruby brightness of pomegranate seeds and golden light of quince, copper of saffron and lilac shades of grapes. An inexhaustible texture of patterns, the flight of creative imagination and great skillfulness - here is a brief characteristic of an Azerbaijani carpet.
According to the archeological materials and written documents, carpet weaving in Azerbaijan was already spread in Bronze Age. This was mentioned in works by Herodotus, Claudius Elian, Xenophont and other ancient historians. Under the Sassanid Dynasty (3rd - 7th centuries) carpet art in Azerbaijan went through another stage of development - magnificent carpets from silk, gold and silver threads appeared. Production of carpets weaved with gold and silver threads and decorated with jewels acquired traditional character in the 16th - 17th centuries. Azerbaijani silk carpets were celebrated in "Kitabi Dede Korkud" epos. In the 13th -14th centuries Azerbaijan exported great number of carpets and carpet related production to foreign countries.
Azerbaijani carpets can be classified according to their technical features as pile and pileless. The pileless carpets are related to the early period of weaving art development. The pileless carpets are classified according to weaving style, composite structure, ornament richness and coloring. There are 8 basic kinds: Palas, Dzhejim, lady, kilim, shedde, verni, zili, sumakh.
There are 7 major carpet weaving schools distinguished by patterns, composition, color palette and techniques in Azerbaijan: Quba School, Baku or Absheron School, Shirvan School, Ganja School, Gazakh School, Karabakh School, Tabriz School. Let us consider each school separately:
1.Quba carpet ornaments contain stylized vegetative, sometimes zoomorphic motives consisting of geometrical patterns.
2.Baku carpets differ by greater softness, intensity of color, originality of art elements and a subtlety of patterns. Among the ornaments prevail ovals (so-called "gyoly") of geometrical form, vegetative elements with curves. The intermediate spaces color palette of Baku carpets consists mainly of deep blue and more rarely red and yellow.
3.Rich, complex patterns of Shirvan carpets composition has been known since the Middle Ages. As far back as in the 14th - 15th centuries these carpets were anthemed by European artists.
4.Ganja has been famous as the center of silk and woolen fabrics, silk carpets. Special carpet weaving workshops have been working in Ganja, which was regarded as the center of high-quality carpet making, for many centuries.
5.Using just a few colors the representatives of theses schools create harmonious palette. The patterns of Ganja and Gazakh carpets attracted attention of European artists of the Middle Ages.
6.Very popular In Karabakh are 5 carpet sets -gyabe adapted to home interiors. Karabakh carpets have the richest color palette which reflects the most subtle color shades Karabakh nature. According to long-standing traditions the background in intermediate spaces of Azerbaijani carpets is filled with red. The paint used for carpets are extracted not only from plans but also from insects the most popular of which is cochineal.
7. Tabriz school is the most ancient and known in Azerbaijan. Already in the 11th -12th centuries it was flourishing. In the 13th - 14th centuries it acquired features of Tabriz miniature art, and in the 16th - 17th centuries it reached its highest level of development. Piled and pileless carpets characteristic of this school are distinguished by decorating, harmony of colors, variety of ornaments.