Several years ago, the Russian Museum of Ethnography held an exhibition dedicated to the traditional Armenian culture. Titled “The World of Traditional Armenian Culture”, the exhibition showcased yet unseen objects characteristic of the common Armenian crafts and occupations, such as jewelry, carpets, musical instruments, weapons, embroidery, and lace works.
In regard to the Armenian craftsmanship, the museum’s website states:
“…Armenian people achieved general recognition as creators and keepers of multifaceted cultural tradition. The study of their traditional culture became one of the main subjects of the Ethnographic Department of the Alexander III Russian Museum (now the Russian Museum of Ethnography).
The production of Armenian armourers (daggers, sabres, shashkas) was famous in all the Caucasus and beyond its borders. The craftsmen from Tiflis (Tbilisi), Akhaltsikhe, Alexandropol, Karin, and Van were commonly renowned. Depending on fashion, Armenian armourers applied various techniques.
Jewellery art was one of the spectacular sides of Armenian culture. Different specific techniques of jewellery crafting and decoration developed in various Armenian regions.
Carpet making is one of the oldest Armenian crafts. Carpets covered ottomans and floors, hung on walls and niches. The carpets from Tavush, Sunic-Artsakh, Khaberda, and Van were particularly famous. They could be woolen, silk, or made of a combination of these materials. On one hand, the ornament of each carpet was restricted by conventional rules; on the other hand, it was a unique work of art in which carpet-maker expressed her view of harmony and beauty.”
The Russian Museum of Ethnography houses more than 3,000 unique Armenian cultural artifacts, which had been saved by a scientific expedition led by Alexander Miller in 1916, at the time of the Armenian Genocide. To honor this occasion, the Russian Museum of Ethnography in collaboration with the Armenian Jewelers Foundation based in Geneva published the book “Treasures of Western Armenia”. This book features the artifacts kept at the Russian Museum. Unfortunately, there aren’t many photos from the book available freely online, so people would need to buy the book to admire all the presented artifacts.
Armenian folk art is also widely presented at museums in the US (in particular, at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts), France, and countless others. Below, you can see some of the items showcased at those museums.
Some more pictures from the exhibition in St. Petersburg