History of the museum

Azerbaijan Carpet Museum

Azerbaijan Carpet Museum is the museum founded in 1967 in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan. The building of the museum locates at the center of Baku, National Seaside Park (Seaside Boulevard). It is the first carpet museum in the world. There are more than 15 000 exhibits in the collection of the museum. The exhibits consist of jewelry made of pottery, metal and bronze, metal goods of XIV century, carpets and carpet goods of XVII-XX centuries, golden and silver jewelry, national clothes and embroidery and applied art samples of the modern times

Carpet making is one of the ancient decorative applied arts of Azerbaijan. The information gained through archeological researches prove that, carpet making art has an ancient history in Azerbaijan. Carpet Museum carries great and hard work on the promotion of national cultural heritage by holding international exhibitions, conferences, symposiums and other events.

The museum has been created on June 1, 1967 by Latif Karimov. The first exposition met the visitors in 1972. At that time the museum located in the ancient castle part of Baku, at the building of Juma Mosque locating in Icherisheher. In 1992 the museum was moved to the building of Museum center (former Lenin Museum) and the Mosque became the place of worship again.
On May 17th, 2008 the Foundation Laying Ceremony of the new building of Carpet Museum was held in Baku with the participation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and UNESCO Director-General Koitiro Matsuura. The new building of the museum was constructed in the shape of rolled carpet. Its architects are Franz Janz and Walter Mary.

The collection of the museum has been displayed many times more than 50 countries including Great Britain, Portugal, Holland, Spain, Italy, France, India, Iran, Israel, Turkey and former Soviet countries, also Cuba, USA and others. A documentary has been filmed about the history of the museum.

Valuable historical exhibits and works of art from Quba, Gabala, Shirvan, Qazakh, Tabriz, Irevan, Ganja, Shaki and other cities and regions which reflect ancient history of Azerbaijan are reserved in Azerbaijan Carpet Museum. There are archeological monuments of Bronze Age (pottery and bronze findings), dishes belonging to XII century, artistic embroidery and national clothes, metal, wood, glass and jewelry products, weapons, carpet products with plots related to national ornaments and folk art, piled (carpet, mat and mat-carpet) and pileless carpets (rug, kilim, jejim, sumakh, shadda, varni, zili) and various carpet goods (carpet bag, horse-cover, mafrash and others) of XIX century.

The most ancient work of carpet art in the museum is a fragment of “Ovchulug” Tabriz carpet of XVII century. Another valuable exhibit of the museum is “Khila Afshan” carpet weaved in XVIII century in Khila village of Baku. Some of the carpets exhibited in the museum are family keepsakes sold or gifted to the museum. Among them there are carpet bag gifted to a bride by a bridegroom of 1724 and horse-cover (tasseled) of 1727.

The collection of the museum also includes carpet group of the former carpet museum in Shusha. At the beginning of 1992, when Shusha was surrounded during Karabakh War the carpets were in danger. They could be lost or destroyed. The director of Shusha Museum who tried to save the unique artifacts deported more than 600 exhibits from the city with battle cars. Now these carpets are exhibited in Baku Museum at “Burnt culture” exhibition.

On June 18, 2003 two Azerbaijani carpets from the Grover Smith’s collection who was a member of Chicago Oriental Carpet and Textile Society passed on the Museum by his wife Beverly Smith. These carpets were “Ajdahali khalcha” (“Carpet with a dragon”) of XVII century from Karabakh and “Salyan Khilasi” of XIX century from Shirvan.
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