In Armenian family carpet has always been a valuable decoration of home. According to tradition newlyweds were often gifted carpets, the balconies were decorated with carpets during holidays. In ancient times carpet weaver girls considered to be the best brides, which brought honor to their families. Numerous are cases when Armenian carpets were given to kings, foreign honorable officials and other respectable guests. In the last decade the attention towards carpets has increased largely, the number of the people interested in carpet weaving art has also increased.
Whoever has once been in marvelous Artsakh has surely visited Shushi’s art center established in 2012 by the efforts of Armenian benefactor Karo Sargsyan living in Moscow. The first floor of the museum was allocated to the exhibition and reservation of the carpets and old household objects. In 2013 in the art center of Shushi the museum of carpets was opened where almost 30 handmade carpets dating back to 17-20th centuries are exhibited. They are the “witnesses” of the best traditions of carpet weaving art in Artsakh. The aim of establishing the museum was to save the traditional artsakhian carpet from getting buried in oblivion.
The author of the initiative of establishing museum of carpets, benefactor Vardan Astsatryan gave detailed information about how the idea about the museum was schemed and how 300 carpets were united.
“I’ve seen carpets in our house since childhood. Since adulthood I have been interested in the history of carpet weaving and collected them from different recipients. I have always listened to different stories from my granny, grandfather and parents about how the Turks collected old Armenian carpets from Armenian villages exchanging them with the new ones or other goods. I have witnessed how people hid the old carpets of their houses, while others accepted exchanging them with new goods. So the Turks wanted to obliterate the Armenian handwriting from the carpet weaving art implementing the ideology of Pan-Turkism towards Armenians. The carpet woven by my granny is also reserved in this museum…” told Vardan Astsatryan. Dedication and love towards culture has always accompanied him. He has started studying Armenian culture and different branches of fine arts in depth and created wonderful collection.
He has found and bought hundreds of carpets from different countries: Austria, Switzerland, Istanbul, Germany. He has found old carpets of famous carpet weavers from different villages of Artsakh and Armenia. Today they are exhibited in the carpets museum of Shushi. The permanent exhibition of about 300 carpets includes 120 carpets: “Dragon rug”, “Khndzoresk”, “Floral carpet”, “Blossomed crosses”, “Figurative carpet” and others. The worn out carpets of the collection have been restored.
The carpets museum of Shushi is an invaluable wealth certifying about the rich traditions of Artsakh’s carpet weaving art, which is also a wonderful opportunity for studying the famous carpet weaving art of Artsakh and making it a development center for the latter.