Maya Ashirova: "Turkmenistan will adopt the experience of the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum"
An exhibition of the Turkmen handmade carpets, national jewelry and textiles opened at the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum. Director of the Turkmen National Museum of Carpets, Maya Ashirova, who presented more than three hundred items for the exhibition, told Vestnik Kavkaza about the carpet weaving traditions and affinity between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.
- The carpet has been considered a symbol of Turkmen people for centuries. What importance do Turkmen people attach to carpets today?
- People in our country say that horses are the wings of Turkmens, and carpets are their soul. Today, the carpet weaving is maintained at the state level. Our president wrote two books - "The Beauty of Heaven" and "Living Legend". The first describes the beauty of the Turkmen carpet associated with spiritual perception as the grace of the world is reflected in a carpet. The second book is a textbook for young people, telling about the attitude to our heritage, our past and culture. The point is that the world is huge, but without knowing your culture you cannot comprehend it.
- Is the textbook included in the school curriculum?
- We have classes in schools where there are studies of practical carpet weaving. Girls can do carpet weaving one hour a week starting from the fourth grade.
- How many schools of the Turkmen carpet are there?
- There are about 70 types of carpets - carpets that are used in everyday life, festive, ritual. Nobody counted ornaments. There is a large group of Akhal-Teke carpets, there are smaller groups as well.
- What are the distinctive features of the Turkmen carpet?
-The distinctive features of the Turkmen carpets - geometric patterns, lines, proportions. Our carpets consist of 50% of the background and 50% of the ornament. This is always maintained. When people look at our carpet, they think that it has more background. But it is not true. We just have very laconic carpets. When the same colors are used both in the background and in the ornament, it seems that the background is larger. Compliance with the proportions is also required. This is a part of the craft and culture.
In addition, the unique giant woolen carpets are made in Turkmenistan, with more than a million knots per square meter. We brought one of the samples to Baku. Today our task is to popularize the hand-made carpet weaving.
- What is the oldest carpet in your museum?
- 17th-century carpet, most likely. We didn’t test it using the radiocarbon method, but based on the knowledge of what was woven in the 17th century, we came to the conclusion that it was made in the 17th century.
- What can you say about the Azerbaijani carpets?
- They are very similar to ours, the kinship is felt.
- How did the idea of the Azerbaijani-Turkmen carpet exhibition appear?
- Ilham Aliyev came to Ashgabat, saw our museum, and then the idea was born. Now, we hope that the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum will bring its exposition to Ashgabat. We want to thank the people and the government of Azerbaijan for the warm welcome and assistance in organizing this exhibition. We really enjoyed our time here. We hope that this relationship will strengthen and develop.
- Did you get acquainted with the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum?
- We liked the workshops at the carpet museum, the way things are organized. Now we are thinking of expanding our restoration workshops by using the Azerbaijani experience.