Art of Azerbaijan carpets fascinates South Koreans

Jeff Sung
Wed, 2018-12-05 18:33

SEOUL: Artisan carpets woven across Azerbaijan are on display in
South Korea’s capital, evoking the curiosity of many Korean

The “Carpets, Pearls of Azerbaijan” exhibition kicked off on
Nov. 26 at a gallery in central Seoul.

The exhibition was a joint effort between Azeri Embassy and the
Korea Foundation, a non-profit public diplomacy organization that
promotes better understanding of the Far East country, as well as
the Azerkhalcha Open Joint Stock Company, which oversees the
production, development, sales, import and export of carpets within

It is the first exhibition of Azerbaijan carpets, which were
added to the UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in
2010, in South Korea, which established diplomatic ties with the
Muslim nation in 1992.

On display were 18 carpets woven by nine carpet-weaving schools
in Baku, Karabakh, Gazakh, Guba, Ganja, Yerevan, Nakhchivan,
Shirvan and Tabriz regions.

“The purpose of the exhibition is to introduce the rich and
centuries-old Azerbaijani carpet-weaving tradition here, as most
Koreans are not aware of the Eurasia country being a
carpet-producing country,” Ramzi Teymurov, the Azerbaijani
ambassador to South Korea, told Arab News.

“The display of Azerbaijani cultural heritage is a
historically important event that will serve as a milestone in
boosting cultural exchanges further between the two nations.”

Azerbaijan carpets typically feature a recurring set of images,
including plants and abstract geometric forms.

“The delicacy and complexity of the patterns mean our carpets
are heavier than most, and that makes them all the more precious
and unique,” added Teymurov. “A single carpet can contain up to
5,000 threads per square decimeter.”

The event kicked off in commemoration of Azerbaijan’s
Independence Day in October, which marked 100 years since the
country’s establishment.

The president of the Korea Foundation, Lee Shi-hyung, echoed the
sentiment, saying: “The foundation is very glad to have had the
opportunity to introduce Azerbaijani art and culture, which the
Korean public may be somewhat unfamiliar with.”

“The ancient art of carpet-weaving has survived and evolved to
this present day, so this exhibition will be testimony of
Azerbaijan’s artistic and cultural heritage,” he added.

Patterns, color and weaving techniques differ from region to
region. For example, carpets made in Baku stand out through the
inclusion of Buta, the symbol of fire in Azerbaijan’s Absheron

In the city of Ganja, carpets are produced for both trade and
local use thanks to good sheep-breeding conditions in the
region’s mountainous and foothill districts.

Carpets made in the Yerevan region, meanwhile, are woven out of
camel, sheep and goat wool, dyed in several colors and embroidered
with birds and animals that pertain to religious conviction.

“Azerbaijani carpets exemplify custom, tradition and national
economic activity,” Kwon Jong-ok, an academic, told Arab News.
“The patterns symbolize the country’s history and people’s
beliefs, while also bringing artistic capabilities to life.”

“Many young Koreans seem to be taking a keen interest in these
patterns, which resemble those used for tattoos,” he added. “A
new type of cultural exchange that reconciles youth fashion here
with ancient design from Azerbaijan seems to be taking

“I’m simply fascinated by the intricate skills of
Azerbaijani carpet-makers,” said Said Hwang Ye-eun, 22, a student
of Sangmyung University in Seoul.

During a group tour, Lee Hye-won, 24, a student at the same
university, said the exhibition has made her keen to visit

“I have little knowledge about the country, but after seeing
these carpets, I am curious to get to know its culture,” Lee

The world’s first specialized carpet museum, formerly known as
the State Museum of Azerbaijani Carpet and Applied Art, was opened
in Baku in 1967.

The Seoul exhibition will be held until Dec. 19.

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Art of Azerbaijan carpets fascinates South Koreans