This hypothesis is getting more supporters in the world
The recent years, more attention has been paid to the old Armenian traditions of carpet weaving, presenting to the world a branch of the Armenian culture, to the origins and following development of which Armenians had considerable contribution.
This goal was pursued also by the international conference ‘Armenian Hub – Traditions of Carpet Weaving Art’ held November 20-22 in Armenia, which was attended also by Director of the Artsakh State Museum of History and Local Lore, Candidate of Historical Sciences Melanya BALAYAN. Following is an interview with her.
- Mrs. Balayan, who was the organizer of the conference and what goals did it pursue?
- The conference was organized by the RA Ministry of Culture; invited were art critics and carpet weaving masters from Armenia, Artsakh, Diaspora, and, surely, well-known foreign researchers and culture critics. The participants discussed a range of issues, the geneology of Armenian carpets, the place and role of Armenian carpets in the advanced carpet weaving art, the peculiarities of their illustration system and the problems of carpets' scientific research, maintenance and propagation.
- What trends are observed in the world in the issue of re-acknowledging Armenians as founders of carpet weaving culture, which has been successfully contested by Turkey and Azerbaijan so far?
- It seemed that they had managed to assume the reputation of being the founder of the art of carpet weaving. But, thanks to the recent years' researches, this seemingly established view is being changed. Great role in this was played by Pazirik carpet finding discovered during the archaeological excavations in 1949 in Altay, which was excavated in vault 5 of Pazirik Kurgan. The carpet was left in the frozen vault, thanks to which it was preserved intact. The finding was taken to the Hermitage Museum, where it was also researched. Scientists have come to the conclusion that the 200x183 mm carpet belongs to the V-IV centuries BC - it differs from the local texture with its structure, art forms, color and technology, it is woven with double loop. All this has led the scientists to the view that the carpet belongs to the advanced culture. When it was discovered that the red color of the carpet fiber was got from the Ararat Valley ‘carmine dye’, part of the scientists came to the conclusion that the carpet has Armenian genealogy. This hypothesis has recently got more supporters.
This view was also expressed by German scientist, art critic Folkmar Gantshorne. The multi-year researches were reflected in the scientist’s work ‘Eastern Christian Carpet – the Outline of Development from the Origins to the 18th Century’, which was published and reproduced in German, translated into English, French, Italian and already Armenian. According to F. Gantshorn, the treasury of decorative art of Eastern carpets makes part of the Armenian unique culture. He acknowledged that he began to study carpets, believing that they were of Muslim origin, but when he deepened in these studies, he made sure that oriental carpets were of Armenian origin.
Let’s note that President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan awarded German scientist Folkmar Gantshorn with Movses Khorenatsi Medal for proper presenting the Armenian carpet weaving to the world and for his significant contribution to the issue of promoting the international recognition of the Armenian carpet art
- How actual was the topic of Artsakh carpet weaving?
- As we know, the Artsakh carpet weaving occupies an important place in the Armenian carpet weaving culture, and the conference participants displayed great interest towards the current situation. My speech ‘On the issue of studying the Artsakh carpet weaving culture’ briefly presented, in particular, the issue’s historiography in the Soviet period. In particular, it stressed the large part of old carpets plundered during the 1918-20 Armenian pogroms and massacres committed by Turks and Azerbaijanis and the Azerbaijani policy in 1960-70 aimed at collecting in different ways the hand-woven Armenian carpets. It was stressed that due to the special program, a carpet museum was created in Baku, thanks to which Azerbaijan is introducing itself to the world as a nation with ancient carpet weaving culture. I also emphasized the current trends of returning to the Artsakh carpet weaving traditions and the authorities’ support to the process.
-What collection does the Museum of History and Local Lore have?
- Currently, around 150 carpets are kept in the museum. We know that there are still some unique, old, and expensive carpets in the villages, but we cannot obtain them, due to the fund shortage. It would be very sad, if they are removed from the Republic.
- Recently, much has been spoken about a new building for the museum. Is there any information in this regard?
- A new building is planned for the museum in 2014. But, proper implementation of the program is important – in many cases, a building is provided, which lacks the necessary areas, in particular, stock and demonstration rooms and others. In this case, we have to be satisfied with what we have. We have been in similar conditions for many years. We hope that the new building conditions will satisfy the requirements of modern museum, which, in turn, will contribute to the development of tourism, which is the declared policy of the authorities in the recent years. We should be able to properly represent the nation's past and present.