Tag Archives: quba

Caucasian Carpets: Realities on the Ground

Urartian elements

It has been a busy week in Armenia, and after having seen too many medieval monasteries and khachkars and carpets, and met with so many artisans and manufacturers and traders, I am exhausted and ready to go home. But I must not forget my primary mission here in the Caucasus: I came for the carpets. So an overall assessment of the state of the Caucasian rug, both old and new, is in order.

The musings that I have summarised below are based on empirical research, if we can call it that—what I have seen and experienced at several carpet factories and workshops, as well as many carpet showrooms and dealers.

An Art Revived: New Carpet Production

In both Armenia and Azerbaijan there are just a few carpet manufacturers who produce quality rugs using traditional hand-knotting techniques in significant (i.e., export-friendly) quantities. This is reassuring, because we all know and agree, …

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A Day in Quba

Fatima and Aygun

Heading north from Baku, the grey, monotonous flatness of the Caspian coast eventually gives way to a more verdant terrain, tree-lined roads, and plenty of apple orchards, apples being Quba’s other claim to fame. Beyond Quba are forested valleys and the snow-capped peaks of the Greater Caucasus. The town itself is low and flat and muddy in winter and decidedly underwhelming. The most ubiquitous sight here looks like this: two old Soviet-era Lada 7‘s driven at manic speed swerve dangerously to avoid each other at an intersection. They come to a screeching halt in the middle, blocking what little other traffic there is. Windows are unrolled and an altercation seems about to explode when the two drivers recognize each other as acquaintances, and whatever acerbic language was about to form on their lips melts away into inquiries about the family. Small town life in a nutshell.

Quba was for long …

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Caucasus Reconnaissance

Pomegranate seller in Quba

Remember me? Several months ago I wrote a short primer on carpet motifs on this blog. I was a complete novice in all matters woven back then, and the blog entry was as much an attempt to educate myself as it was a presentation on the topic. I did it because my old friend Nisha – never a stranger to pressing friends, family and sundry strangers into unpaid servitude – realised that I was living in Turkey and at a loose end, and quickly seized on the opportunity.

You’re in Turkey, she said, so inform yourself about carpet designs. Later she said, casually, you should find out more about Caucasian rugs in particular, because they are striking and unusual, and I want to add more of them to Arastan’s portfolio. And then, quite brazenly, the Caucasus is so much closer for you than for me, why don’t you do a short reconnaissance trip …

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    Arastan was an online store that curated rare and handpicked treasures from exotic bazaars along the ancient silk route. Unfortunately we ceased trading in early 2014.

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