The term Armenian carpet designates, but is not limited to, tufted rugs or trames d’Arménie: Tapis et broderies sur les chemins de l’exil (1900-1940) PDF carpets woven in Armenia or by Armenians from pre-Christian times to the present. Traditionally, since ancient times the carpets were used in Armenia to cover floors, decorate interior walls, sofas, chairs, beds and tables.
Cet ouvrage montre comment entre 1900 et 1940, sur les chemins de l’exil, de l’Empire ottoman à Marseille, se transmettent et se perpétuent les procédés traditionnels
arméniens liés à la fabrication de tapis et aux travaux de broderie. Des photographies révèlent la place des Arméniens dans l’artisanat du tapis et de la broderie avant 1915, ainsi que la transmission de ces techniques qui s’est opérée dans les ouvroirs des orphelinats levantins ou dans les camps de réfugiés arméniens notamment de Syrie, du Liban… Le corpus photographique réalisé entre 1923 et 1938 illustre les activités de la société marseillaise Tapis France-Orient qui, offrant du travail aux réfugiées arméniennes, a su utiliser leurs compétences ancestrales en fabriquant des tapis traditionnels de type oriental ou européen, mais aussi des tapis modernes destinés aux paquebots des grandes compagnies. Ainsi, le Museon Arlaten, musée départemental d’Ethnographie, interroge les notions d’identité et d’appartenance communautaire, mais également de transmission des savoir-faire à travers l’histoire d’une population largement implantée en Provence.
Up to present the carpets often serve as entrance veils, decoration for church altars and vestry. Though both words in Armenian are synonymous, word « karpet » is mostly used for non-pile rugs and « gorg » is for a pile carpet. Hittite-Armenian vocabulary, where it existed in the forms of « koork » and « koorkas ». The art of the Armenian carpet and rug weaving has its roots in ancient times. However, due to the fragile nature of carpets very few examples have survived. The complex history of Armenian weaving and needlework was acted out in the Near East, a vast, ancient, and ethnically diverse region. Few are the people who, like the Armenians, can boast of a continuous and consistent record of fine textile production from the 1st millennium BC to the present.
Various rug fragments have been excavated in Armenia dating back to the 7th century BC or earlier. Complete rugs, or nearly complete rugs of this period have not yet been found. Apart from the Pazyryk carpet, after Armenia declared itself as the first Christian state in 301 AD, carpet making took on a decidedly Christian art form and identity. This art form existed continuously unaltered until the Armenian Genocide.
Even though carpets from this region had established the commercial name of « Turkish Carpet » there is evidence to suggest that the majority of weavers in the Ottoman Empire were Armenians. During the Genocide, in addition to the catastrophic loss of many expert carpet weavers, thousands of Armenian children were also orphaned and the Near East Relief saved many of these children, some of whom ended up in the northern part of Beirut, where a rug factory would be established under the guidance of Dr. After a short-lived republic Armenia fell to Soviet rule in 1920 and within a short period, carpet making in the Caucasus as well as Central Asia would take a new turn. The Soviet Union commercialized the trade and sponsored much of the production. Thus carpet making went from a mostly home craft to a mostly commercial craft. With the fall of the Soviet Union, carpet making in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh continued.
Private companies as well as home workshops were again revived. Among some weavers, the traditional method of using rug motifs from Armenian churches, manuscript art and cross-stones was also revived. Armenian carpet weaving that at the initial period coincided with cloth weaving by execution technique have passed the long path of development, starting from simple fabrics, which had been woven at the braiding frames of various form to pile knotted carpets that became the luxurious and dainty pieces of arts. Carpet-weaving is historically a major traditional profession for the majority of Armenian women, including many Armenian families. Prominent Karabakh carpet weavers there were men too.
Art historian Hravard Hakobyan notes that « Artsakh carpets occupy a special place in the history of Armenian carpet-making. Common themes and patterns found on Armenian carpets were the depiction of dragons and eagles. The art of carpet weaving was in addition intimately connected to the making of curtains as evidenced in a passage by Kirakos Gandzaketsi, a 13th-century Armenian historian from Artsakh, who praised Arzu-Khatun, the wife of regional prince Vakhtang Khachenatsi, and her daughters for their expertise and skill in weaving. Arab geographer and historian Al-Masudi noted that, among other works of art, he had never seen such carpets elsewhere in his life. On the opinion of various authors that the origin of the oriental carpets and rugs did not have any association with nomadic tribes, and Central Asia.
The development of carpet and rug weaving in Armenia had been the barest necessity that had been dictated by the climatic conditions of the complete Armenian Highland. In the 13th and 14th centuries, when the carpet weaving started to develop at Near East, Armenia « was one of the most productive regions » in this regards. It was conditioned by the existence of « good quality wool, pure water and dyes ». One of the most important conditions for the development of carpet and rug weaving was the availability of towns and cities, where the arts and crafts might develop. Armenian carpet centers, Theodosiopolis, Karin in Armenian, Qaliqala in Arabic, modern Erzerum.