Baku to see 5th International Carpet Congress

By: Amina Nazarli

Azerbaijan, famous all over the world for its carpet weaving traditions, will host the fifth International Congress in 2017, dedicated to its beautiful carpets.

The work is already underway to hold the high level event that aims to present the colorful national carpets to the world.

Currently, representatives of International Conference on Oriental Carpets are on visit to Baku to examine exhibits of museums and private collections. During their visit, the experts will hold several meetings with the organizers and experts of the congress, and hold trainings.

As carpet weaving has been a part of Azerbaijani culture since time immemorial, the experts will get familiar with the history and quality of the carpets to be exhibited at the congress.

Carpets occupy a preeminent place among all the examples of Azerbaijani craftsmanship. In 2010, the Azerbaijani carpet was proclaimed a Masterpiece of Intangible Heritage by UNESCO in 2010.

Ancient Azerbaijani carpets are stored at the White House, the U.S. State Department, and many other museums across the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Museum of Art in Philadelphia, as well as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

Azerbaijan’s Carpet Museum established in Baku in 1967, being the first carpet museum in the world is the very place that can familiarize all the interested with the unique examples of the national carpets.

At first, the museum was located in the Juma Mosque in the Old City. In 1992, the museum, named after well-known Azerbaijani scientist Latif Karimov, the founder of carpet studies and Azerbaijani carpet history, was moved to 123a, Neftchiler Avenue.

A new carpet museum, designed in the form of a rolled carpet, opened in the Baku Seaside Park in 2014 and all carpets were transferred to this museum.

The early emergence of the art of knotting carpets is tied closely to sheep raising traditions and the availability of natural dyes in the region – fig leaves for ochre colors, madder for reds, saffron for golden yellow hues, pomegranate peels for reddish browns.

The carpets feature different patterns and a color palette from several schools, including Guba, Baku, Shirvan, Ganja, Gazakh, Karabakh, and Tabriz.

Some 600 different designs decorate Azerbaijani carpets. The most popular design style is Buta, which has 72 shapes and three main symbolic meanings: fire, water, and the cypress.

Over many centuries, carpets have become not only an accessory but also a necessity for the Azerbaijani people. They are seen in almost every house. In ancient times, no man married a girl who could not weave a carpet. Families used to buy carpets as the main part of the dowry for their daughters.