“Bardiz Kilim”, another example of the cultural appropriation of Armenian art

The Bardiz Kilim, with its intricate floral motifs set against a black backdrop, is indeed a sight to behold. This traditional design is often attributed to the Seljuk Turks, however, as you have astutely noted, there is a compelling argument for its Armenian origins.

The term “Bardiz” means “garden” in Armenian, a moniker that perfectly captures the garden-like quality of the floral patterns on the kilim. The black backdrop, by this account, symbolizes the rich, fertile soil of a garden. The very name of this kilim, therefore, seems to embody a distinctly Armenian aesthetic sensibility.

Historically, Erzurum, now a city in present-day Turkey, was at the heart of the ancient Armenian Highland. It was home to a vibrant Armenian community until the Armenian Genocide of 1915, which led to a massive displacement of Armenians. Over 250,000 Armenians lived there and contributed to the region’s rich tapestry of art and culture, weaving kilims such as the Bardiz and other designs, including the famed Erzurum Prayer kilims.

The Armenian Karabagh weavers were also known to produce these “Garden” type rugs, further strengthening the link between this particular style of kilim and Armenian artistry.

The intricate designs, the specific choice of motifs, and the overall aesthetic of the Bardiz Kilim provide fascinating insights into the rich and enduring cultural heritage of the Armenian people. These kilims are more than just beautiful objects; they are a testament to the resilience and creativity of a community that has managed to preserve its artistic traditions against the backdrop of significant historical challenges.

Despite the shifting political and geographical landscapes, the Bardiz Kilim stands as a proud testament to the Armenian spirit, as well as a valuable contribution to the global tapestry of textile art. It’s a story of cultural resilience, artistic brilliance, and the indomitable strength of human creativity in the face of adversity. And it’s a story that’s well worth sharing.

“Bardiz Kilim” is another example of the cultural appropriation of Armenian art. Below is a link to the article which attributes its origin to SELJUKS. There are many such articles online. There is even a book that repeats the same untruth. www.ensonhaber.com

Arto Tavukciyan With thanks to Ara Simonian

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