Wood carving: masterpieces created by human hands

By: Amina Nazarli

As one of the oldest types of art, carving is an art-form common to all cultures, from the Stone Age onwards, not least because of its widespread availability, plasticity, and low cost.

This kind of art was also very popular in Azerbaijan since ancient times. Carvings in stones in Nakhchivan’s ancient settlement of Gamigaya are considered one of the original samples of this art.

Up to now, people in Nakhchivan have preserved this interesting form of art. One of those who give life to the inanimate wood is Akif Hasanov.

The artist says that working with wood and creating a masterpiece from this material is not an easy task. “It is better to measure twice and cut once,” he tells. “There is no fabric as gentle, sensitive, generous, and obedient as wood.”

Last November, an exhibition for the talented artist was held in Nakhchivan Business Center, featuring beautiful works in intarsia, carving, and tracery forms of wood inlaying.

Carving is a laborious profession that requires skill, patience, diligence, and accuracy. If a master can bring it all together, then a brilliant masterpiece can be formed.

One should be aware of painting, calligraphy, and timbering in order to learn the process for creating such exquisite workmanship.

The master said before carving, one should prepare sketches and take measurements.

Jabir Jabbarov, who lives in the Minkas block of Ordubad city is also a great master of carving.

His works with tracery elements have garnered much attention. The artist regularly applies tracery method used in the Momine Khatun and Yusif ibn Kuseyir Mausoleums; built in the 12 century in Nakhchivan.

Jabbarov also has his own original and unique tracery form. After giving his soul to this art, Jabbarov became more aware of the trees and knows which one is more appropriate.

Most of his works are made of walnut wood. He said: “Walnut wood has original color.”

The master does not like to use unnatural colors in his masterpieces and also uses wood from pistachio, mulberry, apple, and apricot trees.

“Other trees are soft and it is impossible to carve on them. They quickly break down and deteriorate,” he stressed.

He also agrees that woodcarving is very difficult art. “You should know numerous sciences and learn samples and values of East-West architecture,” the artist says.

“I was interested in Western architecture and sculpture and studied different styles of their art. After that, my sympathy for Eastern architecture grew. Eastern architecture is more meaningful. Actually, when you get acquainted with Western architecture, you notice that western architects used Eastern architecture and developed it on their own way. European architecture does not have as much accuracy as we have.”

The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, with a population of 70,000, is a legendary place, which continues to preserve and develop this old and unique art.

The Nakhchivan Regional Career Training Centre regularly holds two-month courses in carving. The center attaches great importance to disabled people who show great interest in this art form. Thus, the center promotes this ancient folk art, while helping disabled people adopt a new and interesting occupation.