Artsakh carpet dated 1731

Artsakh carpet dated 1731 clearly shows its influence on later Anatolian (Ladik, Megri) and Caucasian carpets.

The carpet-making culture of the northeastern states of historical Armenia, Artsakh, Utik, and Syunik, has a special place in the history of Armenian culture. Below is a fragment made in northern Artsakh, which, with the features of its decorative details, is of key importance to the carpet-making culture of Artsakh, Armenia and Anatolia, and the Caucasus.

The carpet dated 1731 is attributed to Catholicos Nerses V of Aghvan (Caucasian Albania) which was under the jurisdiction of the Armenian Apostolic Church. According to historian Harutyun Kurdian, the carpet is kept in the museum of St. James Church in Jerusalem.

Kurdian personally inspected and researched the structure of the carpet and its genealogical source. The carpet has an extensive inscription in Armenian letters and numbers, which is woven in the upper part of the carpet—along the entire width of the outer and inner narrow areas

The inscription says:

«յիշեցէք ի մաքրափայլ յաղոթս ձեր Ներսես մեղա-պարտ կ/ա/թողիկոս Աղուանի/ց/ է պատճառ սմին /…այրված…/ լոյս ընկալ Չարեքու Սբ Անապատին ՌՃՁ թվին»:
“Remember my pure prayer to your inner sin-debt of the Holy great Aghvan (Caucasian Albania), the cause of the /…burned…/ light received in Chareku ((Charek Monastery) Holy desert dated 1731”

Charek Monastery is located in the historic Gardman province, near the village of Pip, not far from the Charek Fortress in today‘s Azerbaijan.

According to Kurdian, the carpet was woven on a silk foundation and although it has significant losses in the central part of the field, it is still in presentable condition. Moreover, there are partial losses in some parts of the inscription.

Central to the decoration system of this carpet is the four longitudinal “pillars” depicted in the central part of the field, the tops of which are trimmed with hooks found on many later Anatolian rugs. Various small plant motifs and ornaments are woven into them.

At the ends of the field, in one transverse row, are big plants, which are “Tulips” in the professional literature.

The historical value of this carpet is determined by the commemoration. It clearly shows the year of creation, the place, and also the patron—Catholicos Nerses V from Aghvan, a famous spiritual figure who was the abbot of the Mankants Monastery from Yerit. He also carried out construction works in the Charek Monastery.

The motifs and technical features of this carpet, created about three hundred years ago, are exact sources in identifying the details of individual types of Anatolian and Caucasian of the late medieval and XVIII-XIX centuries, especially carpets called “Ladik” and “Megri”.

Arto Tavukciyan With thanks to Ashkunj Poghosyan

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