Carpets from Armenia are recognized all around the world thanks to their noble appearance, unique embroidery, and natural, non-washable colors. There are two kinds of the Armenian carpet – tufted gorgs (rugs) and knotted carpets – which are woven with the traditional Armenian technique.
Armenians have been weaving carpets from times immemorial. The main feature of the Armenian carpets is the extensive use of stylized images of animals and people as ornamentation. Another notable feature of the Armenian carpets is their cross-like pattern. The main element of the pattern is one or several crosses either with or without frames. In case there are several crosses, they are positioned in rows.
When weaving carpets, Armenian craftsmen have been traditionally using the double knot, which allows Armenian carpets to “live” longer. Remarkably, Armenian carpets are called “Armani baf” in some regions of Iran, which literally means “the Armenian knot”. With this knot, the yarn entwines two adjacent threads at the base of the carpet. Then, both ends of the yarn come out of the carpet for subsequent weaving.
The director of the old carpet weaving factory Megerian Carpet in Armenia Leonid Andriasian uncovered how the Armenian craftsmen made three special carpets.
“We have worked on the design of many carpets that Megerians presented to renowned individuals who had contributed to the acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide and who had aided the Armenian people. The first carpet of the series was presented to famous Armenian-French singer and public activist Charles Aznavour, the second was presented to George Clooney, while the third was woven for the Pope.”
According to Andriasian, one of the merits of the factory is that its craftsmen decided to revive the Armenian traditions of carpet weaving by switching from synthetic to natural dyes and from the Persian knot to the old Armenian double knot.
Andriasian remarked that Armenian carpets are woven from exclusively wool threads made from natural materials. As a result, an ecologically safe and even sanitary carpet is created.
“We obtain the yellow color of the wool from dwarf everlast, red from Rubia tinctorum, brown from the shell of Juglans regia, black from the peel of the pomegranate, and so on. However, there is no indigolite in Armenia, so we have to import it from India to obtain the necessary shade.”
Andriasian added that as a craft, Armenian carpet weaving isn’t for everyone, and if a craftsman doesn’t love his job or starts the day with a bad mood, then he shouldn’t touch the carpet-weaving machine.
In this magic factory, carpets are not only woven but also restored. In one of the departments, the pile of the carpet is slightly shortened to aid their cleaning. After the removal of dirt from the carpet, it is washed several times.
Within the factory, one could see Armenian and Artsakh carpets that are 100 – 400 years old. Another type of Armenian carpet weaving is the modern 3D weaving. Of most grandeur are carpets in the form of a khachkar (cross-stone).
CNN The Silk Road: Armenian carpets
Armenian Carpets and Rugs (Megerian Carpet Armenia)