Maria Filatova: We call Azerbaijan's 'Bahmanli' Carpet number one

Maria Filatova: We call Azerbaijan's 'Bahmanli' Carpet number one

The Moscow State Museum of Oriental Art has opened an exhibition titled 'Harmony of space. Traditional Art of Azerbaijan,' which will run until May 12. The curator of the exhibition from the Museum of Oriental Art, Maria Filatova, told Vestnik Kavkaza about the next joint project of the Russian and Azerbaijani museums.

- How did the history of the Museum of Oriental Art begin?

- The museum was established in 1918, and its first exhibit was the Azerbaijani 'Bahmanli' carpet, created by Karabakh masters in the 19th century. The beginning of the 20th century was a difficult period, new museums were created back then and, naturally, they needed to be filled. The State Procurement Commission distributed items to museums. There were people who chose which museum gets what, and experts of the future Museum of Oriental Art chose this carpet. This is a great happiness. It is also presented at our current exhibition. We call it Carpet number one.

- What is unique about this carpet?

- This is a traditional Azerbaijani carpet. The Karabakh carpets are characterized by dark colors, dark red and intense blue, large patterns. Azerbaijani patterned carpets have floral and geometric design. This carpet has old traditional geometrical ornaments, which existed even in pre-Islamic period, when people worshiped forces of nature. Nature was an essential part of human life. Both solar symbols and images of animals are important symbols having a certain meaning and protecting people, protecting families, giving peace and harmony. Our exhibition is dedicated to the harmony of space and harmony in people's soul. This harmony was created by interior items, including carpets.

There were a lot of carpets, both in houses of the poor and rich people. For example, they made carpets decorated with precious stones, embroidered with gold threads to present them to ambassadors and kings. Such carpets can be seen at the Louvre, at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

- What other exhibits of your museum are on display?

- Jewelry, very interesting copper hammered products. Our Baku colleagues told us very interesting things about their purpose.

- How many exhibits are there in total?

- The exhibition features more than a hundred exhibits. The vast majority of exhibits is from Baku. Baku residents brought mostly embroidery. Large, very beautiful panels covering niches, kelaghayi headscarves, 'ambassadorial' tablecloths. The Museum of Oriental Art presents two 'ambassadorial' tablecloths. They were used to wrap gifts to ambassadors. They were not put on the table, they did not put dishes on them. Tablecloths are finely decorated, they have a graceful ornament.

- Are "ambassadorial" tablecloths characteristic of Azerbaijan?

- I think it is a global practice to give beautifully wrapped gifts. It is just that Azerbaijanis, with their love and special respect for guests, created such delicate handmade things which can be beautiful gifts themselves.