Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
A superb way to spend a morning in bed with the laptop consuming highly delectable eye-candy found on the educational guide on Azerbaijan rugs:
“…..most of these precious rugs were woven more than a century ago. The 19th century village and nomad weavers used the traditions dating back at least to the 13th century and used designs that belonged to their tribe and village, they generally inserted their own ornaments and tribal symbols in the empty areas of the rug. But with the establishment of the Soviet reign in Azerbaijan, the quality of rugs started to fall, usage of natural dyes and handspun wool had dramatically decreased, only some nomad and peasant weavers, who wove not for commercial purposes but for their own families, used ancient traditional methods of their ancestors in the beginning of the Soviet Period. It was during World War II that Azerbaijan’s village rug weaving overall went into a decline from which it never completely recovered. In the 1960’s, carpet-weaving cartels took over the village hand-knotted rugs, and village weavers (except some remote mountainous villages) were urged to use chemical dyes, to use machine-spun yarns and even sometimes to imitate the look of machine-made carpets. In this way, the tradition of the ancestors was mostly forsaken.
To rediscover these long-forgotten secrets of the ancient Caucasian rug weavers’ art and to bring new life into old traditions, “Antique Rugs of the Future” project has been started. This project grew out of an extensive research program on antique Caucasian Azerbaijan carpets. Hundreds of antique Caucasian rugs have been analyzed to determine the essential features (design, structure, material and dyes) of antique Caucasian Azerbaijani rugs. Also over 20 000 photos were gathered from various sources such as the world’s most famous auction houses, collectors, connoisseurs and some dealers, which helped a lot with the research. Traveling to some remote mountain villages of Azerbaijan, after all this time where traditional patterns and weaving techniques still survived, to meet old weavers trying to figure out their recipes and techniques also helped a lot towards the development of the project……”
A screen shot from the website to whet the appetite: