The Azerbaijan are a Turkish group living mainly in northwestern Iran (South Azerbaijan) and the Republic of Azerbaijan. Commonly referred to as Azerbaijani Turks , Turkish language: Azərbaycan Türkləri)
The Turkish language unifies Azerbaycani, and is mutually intelligible with Turkmen, Qashqai and Turkish (including the dialects spoken by the Iraqi Turkman), all of which belong to Oghuz, or Western, group of Turkish languages.
Classic and Antique Carpet and Rugs Collections
Our Classic and Antique Collections are comprised of carpets from the eight traditional carpet-making schools.
Our Modern Collection is comprised of pieces made by modern carpet producers. Influenced by the traditional carpet making techniques, our Modern Collection offers modern Azerbaijani carpets - for modern living
Azerbiajan Carpet Schools
To learn more about the eight traditional Azerbaijan carpet-making schools
Tabriz / Təbriz / تبریز
Tabriz is situated in the south Azerbaijan and has an historic connection to the art of carpet weaving. Regarded as the centre of arts in Azerbaijan, Tabriz is known for its architecture and its importance to trade in Eurasia. Tabriz carpets incorporate numerous carpet-producing regions, and result in carpets from the school having significant differences. Tabriz carpets traditionally feature ornaments such as medallions, gardens, trees, guldanly and buta. Tabriz carpets have always had a reputation for being highly sought after, and this reputation is well deserved.
Baku/Absheron / باکو
The Baku/Absheron carpet school originates from east Azerbaijan and the west coast of the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan has always been regarded as the border for the East and West, and the Baku/Absheron region acts as the meeting place of East and West. The school’s carpets are recognisable by their traditional designs, artistic style and use of luxurious colours. Many of the designs depict soaring flames, which were worshipped by the region’s ancient inhabitants, while others feature beautiful lakes and exotic plants.
No visit to Baku would be complete without a visit to the Carpet and Applied Arts Museum - housed in what used to be the Lenin Museum. Exhibits include amazing Azerbaijan rugs produced throughout the ages including examples from Baku’s own carpet-making school. One that particularly stands out is ‘Khila Afshan’, an 18th-century wool rug crafted in Baku's Khila village (now known as Amirjan) decorated with vibrant red, white and blue flowers.
Qashgai / Qaşqay / قشقائی / قاشقای
Qashgai rugs and runners usually have geometric patterns, including geometric animal and bird drawings used both as part of the repeat patterns and as filler ornaments. The borders of QASHQAI rugs and carpets in particular include many highly developed floral designs. As with other nomad rugs, multiple borders are a sign of later weavings.
Quality: QASHQAI rugs and runners vary in quality. Older QASHQAI rugs and runners (around 1950) are very good, but some of the newer ones are made with chemical rather than vegetable dyes and are of lower quality.
Size & Shapes: QASHQAI rugs and runners come in different sizes, but the majority of them are mid-size (4 x 6 to 8 x 10 feet).
Color: The dyes in older QASHQAI rugs and runners (1950 and earlier) are derived from natural sources, including madder red, indigo blue, and the classic gold/yellow hue. It is difficult, however, to find newer ones made with vegetable dyes.
Knots: Inspection of the back of the carpet is important because the weavers in the QASHQAI tribe use flat weave.
Where are Qashqai people ?
Qashqai also spelled Ghashghai, Qaşqayi,Kashkai , Qashqay and Qashqa'i, and Qashqai: قاشقای ،قشقایی) are a Turic people in Iran speaking a Turkic language.
The Qashqai language is closely related to Azerbaijani, and some linguists. actually consider it to be a dialect of that language. Qashqais mainly live in the provinces of Fars, Khuzestan and southern Isfahan, but especially around the city of Shiraz in Fars.
The Qashqai were originally nomadic pastoralists and some remain so today. The traditional nomadic Qashqai travelled with their flocks each year from the summer highland pastures north of Shiraz roughly 480 km or 300 mi south to the winter pastures on lower (and warmer) lands near the Arabian Gulf, to the southwest of Shiraz. The majority, however, have now settled, or are partially settled. The trend towards settlement has been increasing markedly since the 1960s.
Guba / قوبا
The carpets of this region originate from villages on the slopes, foothills and lowlands of the Caucasus Mountains in north-east Azerbaijan. Guba carpets were considered the best rugs of the Caucasus when they were first produced by Lezgi and Tabassaran weavers. The weave is denser than most Caucasian rugs, and they are traditionally composed with geometrical designs that sometimes include motifs of animals and plants – probably because the lush Guba region is known as the orchard of Azerbaijan due to the abundance of fruit and vegetables grown here. A fine example of a Guba carpet, dating from 1712, is on show at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Shirvan / Şirvan / شیروان
The rich composition and complex designs of Shirvan carpets – each a veritable work of art - have been much sought after since the Middle Ages and have adorned the homes of royalty. Shirvan is a former region in the Caucasus, and the school generally produces short-pile rugs.
Garabagh/Karabakh / Qarabağ / قاراباغ
Made from the wool of local sheep, Karabakh carpets originate in the mountainous south-west of Azerbaijan. They are characterised by their fluffy, thick pile and vivid colours and there are thought to be at least 33 different designs. Since ancient times, background spaces on Karabakh carpets were red in colour – the dye coming from plants such as cochineal and sometimes from insects. Karabakh carpets are usually large and oblong in shape because people in this area of snow-capped peaks traditionally lived in large oblong rooms and as well as using them to adorn floors, they hung carpets on walls to add insulation from the winter chill.
Ganja / Gəncə / گنجه
Located in north-east Azerbaijan, the Ganja region is hailed as one of the birth places of Azerbaijani culture and was once the largest trade centre in the Caucasus region. Carpets from the region were always popular in the neighbouring countries and the Middle East. The Ganja school of carpets is distinguished by numerous characteristics, including large motives and high pile, low knot density ratio. Ganja carpets are recognisable by unique colours and bright shades.
Bijar / بیجار
Bijar rugs, produced in Northwest Iran are among the finest of Azerbaijanian Turkish rugs by virtue of their design and technique. They cannot be identified readily by their patterns, for their repertoire is quite rich and varied. They are distinguished by primarily by their weave, which is perhaps the densest and most durable of all oriental rugs. Bijar carpets were produced in a classical medallion format as well as in allover designs and pictorial or garden patterns. The quality of their wool is lustrous and soft, the drawing at times classically precise or wildly tribal.(bijar some kurdish people lives. Bijar is Turkish People history,Geography,Political City.)
Gazakh / Qacaq / قازاق
The Gazakh school hails from west Azerbaijan. The region covers the area from the Lesser Caucasus Mountains to the eastern side of the Ganja-Gazakh lowlands. Historically the area had a high population of Turkic tribes and this is represented in the ornamental and geometric features of Gazakh carpets. The school has individual traditions and standards, which has enabled historians to classify carpets belonging to the school. Traditionally the carpets have a high pile and are deceptively rough looking as they are incredibly soft to the touch.
Nackchivan / Naxcivan
The Nakhchivan school is situated in the southwest of the Lesser Caucasus. Traditionally known as the “Doors of the East”, the region was a gateway for trade lines in through the Caucasus. Archaeological expeditions have confirmed that the Nakhchivan region is the most ancient centre of Azerbaijan and that carpets have been produced in the region for centuries. Nakhchivan carpets are made from the wool of “balbas” and “mazakh” sheep that are native to the region. The dyes that are used in the carpets differ greatly to other schools resulting in brilliant, striking shades and hues.
Azerbaijanian Turkish People National Carpet and Rugs History
Archaeological excavations and historical records have revealed that carpet weaving was undertaken in Azerbaijan during the Bronze Age (2000 to 1000 BC). Excavations in Mingechevir discovered the remnants of palases (carpets without pile) and carpets in catacombs dating from AD 100 to 300.
This oldest form of Turkish People (Azerbaijanian Turkish) art is thought to have first adorned the tents of nomads. In those early days, the weave was simple and there were no motifs or patterns but soon the first palas and djedjims appeared.
Since then, complex weaving skills evolved as carpet design became more ornate and intricate threading techniques and knotted pile weaving were developed. Carpet production centres sprung up all over Azerbaijan, each with its own individual style and school, and the craft has been handed down from one generation to another, with the carpets' motifs and colours forming an essential part of the culture of the nation.
In medieval times, news of the great beauty of Azerbaijan’s intricate masterpieces spread throughout the world and production increased as ownership of these ornamental gems became a symbol of great wealth. Poets wrote about them, historians recognised their cultural importance and artists included them in their masterpieces.
By the 16th and 17th centuries, silk carpets embroidered with silver thread were being woven to satisfy the ever-increasing demands of nobility keen to display their status. In 1562, it is reported that Abdulla Khan Ustadjulu of Shirvan had the entire pavilion floor of his summer residence covered in plush carpets embellished with golden and silver threads.
Rugs were the must-have item. Palaces, mosques, inns, observatories, hospitals, houses of middle class people and even homes of the poor were adorned with carpets, and bazaars throughout the land spilled over with work produced by Azerbaijan’s skilful loom masters, especially in Tebriz - the biggest rug-weaving town. In the 1570s the Englishman G Decket, who was visiting Shirvan, observed: “There is nobody, even among the very poor, who would not sit on a rug, good or bad: the entire house or the entire room in which they sit is covered with rugs”.
Carpets became a form of currency. In the 16th century, village weavers paid their rent to the shah in rugs. Almost every Azerbaijani woman practised the art of carpet weaving. Today, thanks to the strength and importance of the tradition of carpet weaving in Azderbaijan, the family tradition of loom mastery remains as strong as ever.
Geometric, floral, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic were the most common symbols in medieval Azerbaijan carpetmaking. These were expanded during Mongol rule in the 13th century to include Chinese-style motifs and in the 13th to 15th centuries were further enriched by nomadic craftsmen from various eastern cities, including Kerman, Kashan and Isfahan.
Baku was one of the most important commercial centres on the Silk Road from Europe to China.
Azerbaijan rugs are considered to be superior in design and craftsmanship to any Persian carpets.
What makes Azerbaijani carpets truly special is their huge range of colours, achieved by the clever use of natural dyes including madder, cochineal, pomegranate skin, oak bark and leaves and nut gall.
Although dyeing and weaving techniques during the 16th and 17th centuries had a lot in common, distinct regional variations arose due to feudal boundaries between the different regions.
The different types of rugs produced in early Azerbaijan were mainly from four regions: Kuba-Shirvan; Gandja-Kazak; Karzbakh; and Tebriz, with each of these regions divided into several groups and subgroups. Quite often, the number and colours of selvages are used to identify the exact area of origin.
Sources: 1 , 2