The traditional art of Azerbaijani carpet weaving in the Republic of Azerbaijan

Inscribed in 2010 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Country(ies): Azerbaijan



The traditional art of Azerbaijani carpet weaving in the Republic of Azerbaijan
©2005 by R Taghiyeva / Ministry of Culture and Tourism

The Azerbaijani carpet is a traditional handmade textile of various sizes, with dense texture and a pile or pile-less surface, whose patterns are characteristic of Azerbaijan’s many carpet-making regions. Carpet making is a family tradition transferred orally and through practice. Men shear sheep in spring and autumn, while women collect dyestuffs and spin and dye yarn in the spring, summer and autumn. The weaving is undertaken during winter by the female members of the extended family, girls learning from their mothers and grandmothers and wives assisting their mothers-in-law. The carpet is made on horizontal or vertical looms using multi-coloured wool, cotton or silk yarn coloured with natural dyes. Applying special techniques to create pile carpets, weavers knot the pile yarn around threads of the warp; pile-less carpets are variously made with interlacing structural warps, wefts, and patterning wefts. The cutting of a finished carpet from the loom is an unusually solemn celebration. Carpet weaving is closely connected with the daily life and customs of the communities involved, its role reflected in the meaning of the designs and their applications. Thus, girls seated on carpets tell fortunes and sing traditional songs at Novruz (the regional New Year). The carpet is widely used for home furniture and decoration, and special carpets are woven for medical treatment, for wedding ceremonies, the birth of a child, mourning rituals and prayer.


Decision 5.COM 6.2

The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:

  • R1: The Azerbaijani carpet is a cultural practice that embodies the history, cosmogony and lifestyle of its practitioners, transmitted by them from generation to generation and providing them a collective cultural identity;
  • R2: Its inscription on the Representative List could raise awareness of the intangible cultural heritage, while encouraging intercultural dialogue amongst communities as well as respect for cultural diversity and human creativity;
  • R3: Recent and proposed measures express the commitment of bearer and practitioner communities, the State and academic institutions to safeguard the Azerbaijani carpet through the legal system, international meetings, and exhibitions, and to mitigate possible harm that may result from its inscription on the List;
  • R4: The nomination has been submitted with the active and wide participation of the communities at all stages, and they provided their free, prior and informed consent;
  • R5: The Azerbaijani carpet is included in the Azerbaijani National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, established under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan.



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