Filled with memories and relics of a tumultuous history, Karabagh is a hidden gem in the southern part of the Caucasus mountains located in southwestern Azerbaijan close to the Armenian border. It extends from the highlands of this mountain range down to the lowlands between the Kura and Aras rivers. The population of this region consists of Armenians and Azeri Turks.
Karabagh is home to some of the most beautiful mountain views as well as awe-inspiring monasteries and structures, some of which date as far back as the 5th century. Along with the cultural richness, picturesque villages, and warm hospitality, you’ll also find some of the most beautiful rugs human hands have ever woven.
As a matter of fact, this region is one of the oldest rug producers in the world. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of this trade that dates as far back as 2500 BC. Flash forward centuries later to the medieval period when Karabagh rugs became one of the most important exports to Europe. This success in commerce can be attributed to the villages where rug weaving is still an integral part of life.
Girls as young as six are taught this important skill in the village workshop or at home. To express just how important this vocation is, you can see illustrations of the tools of this trade—the hook, the comb, scissors, and loom—which are carved upon some of the tombstones of weavers’ graves. To get a more vivid idea of how much dedication is required, the average time span to weave one centimeter of a handmade rug is approximately a whole day.
The style of a traditional Karabagh rug resembles that of Persian designs, but as a distinction, most of the rugs are larger than most with a rectangular shape that’s rounded at the corners. The rationale behind its shape and size relates just as much to its function as its aesthetic appeal since these rugs, at one time, were placed both on the floor and the walls of the home to provide insulation. The longer wool pile is typical of the Karabagh rug along with its coarse texture, but the trait that stands out the most is its weave that features a double weft between every two rows of knots.
Additionally, the designs are breathtaking to behold. They feature a variety of botanical and floral motifs in bright, flamboyant colors derived from plant or insect-based dyes and arranged in a symmetrical pattern.
What is more, the traditional Karabagh rug also displays an emblem of the village where it was crafted. And other varieties also reflect a combination of the many cultures in the surrounding area. Often, this emblem or “medallion” was surrounded by solid, curving bands which are attributed to the Iranian influence. Other motifs include small animals.
Some of the more prevalent symbols include:
And there are many more symbols and motifs that make up the Karabagh style. As one can see, the various designs and colors all serve a purpose to communicate an important message about life and spirituality or to tell a story of one’s ancestors. In fact, the traditional Karabagh rug is considered as the perfect gift for major milestones like a birth or a wedding.
For more information on Karabagh rugs, visit the experts at Sussex Home where you can find a beautiful design that conveys the aura of your abode.