‘Armenians' attempt to appropriate Karabakh carpets by falsifying history is an integral part of another insidious plan’

Baku, November 10, AZERTAC

Chairman of the Board of "Azerkhalcha" Open Joint Stock Company, Professor Vidadi Muradov has made an appeal to carpet companies, international cultural organizations and influential media outlets operating in various countries around the world.

The document features detailed information about the Armenians’ attempts of falsifying Azerbaijani carpets, plundering Azerbaijani material and cultural artifacts, including carpets in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, as well as the Armenian armed forces’ shelling of a carpet weaving workshop in Tartar, that employs 71 women.

The appeal reads: “Armenians, who were resettled in the South Caucasus by Tsarist Russia in the early 19th century, managed to establish their state in the territory of the former Iravan Khanate of Azerbaijan in 1918. Armenians seized Zangazur region, which was historically inhabited by Azerbaijanis during the Soviet era, to cut off Nakhchivan's ties with the major territories of Azerbaijan. The Armenians committed ethnic cleansing and unprecedented genocide against our people by occupying the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and 7 adjacent districts in the early 1990s.

Alongside with destroying the historical monuments of our people in the occupied Azerbaijani lands, Armenians are trying to appropriate many examples of our national culture, including our carpets. We declare that carpet weaving is an integral part of Azerbaijan’s history, a piece of national art. Every place where the Azerbaijani carpet is woven, including Karabakh is Azerbaijan.

Karabakh carpet group, which is one of the 9 groups of Azerbaijan carpet school, includes carpets and carpet products woven in Shusha, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Tartar, Khankandi, Khojaly, Kalbajar, Jabrayil, Gubadli, Aghdara, Lachin, Khojavand, Beylagan, Aghjabadi, Barda and Zangilan.

The international community should know that historical roots of Azerbaijani carpet weaving are directly related to Turks. On all carpets woven in Karabakh there are dozens of elements and stamps symbolizing the Turkish tribes like Bayat, Kangarli, Kolani, Baydili, Damirchi, Kazanchi, Yayji, Mughanli, Afshar, Gushchu, Otuzikilar, Yirmidordlar, Javanshir, Garagoyunlular and others.

The attempt of Armenians, who falsify the history and have false and hypocritical past, to appropriate the Karabakh carpets is an integral part of another insidious plan. Carpet is one of the rare pieces of art that provides a rich source of information about the past history and the region which it belongs to. One of their main goals in Armenianizing our carpets is to falsify the history of Karabakh. In fact, the carpets that have been woven here for centuries, the patterns reflected in these carpets prove once again Karabakh to be one of the ancient cultural centers of Azerbaijan.

The whole world should know that Armenians learned carpet weaving from Azerbaijani Turks. They had no idea about carpet weaving and did not have their own carpet patterns before they were resettled in the South Caucasus. If carpet weaving is, as the Armenians claim, their ancient craft, then why didn't they bring a carpet sample which was woven before they moved to Azerbaijan? Or why there were no carpet factories in Karabakh with Armenian carpet weavers, both before and during the Soviet era? If the history of compact resettlement of Armenians in Karabakh dates back to the middle of the 19th century, how come they can claim Azerbaijani, as well as and Karabakh carpet weaving, which had all the main compositions formed and technical standards improved by the end of the 18th century? They have been unable to find answers to these reasonable questions for many years, deceiving the world community with their fantasies. Karabakh carpets presented by the Armenians as their own works of art are the products of the Azerbaijani people’s mindset. There is one name for the appropriation of another people's work of art and it is theft.

Long before the resettlement of Armenians to the South Caucasus, Karabakh carpets had already been recognized all over the world. There are reports in many historical sources that carpet weaving reached a high stage of development in Karabakh. This information proves that Karabakh carpet weavers weaved carpet products and carpets with unique patters based on orders received from neighboring and far countries. In the 19th century, as in most settlements of Karabakh, carpet weaving in Shusha had already become a commodity. Carpets woven here were highly valued in Russia, Europe and Asia. This proves once again that only Azerbaijanis were professionally engaged in carpet weaving in Karabakh.

We state that the national heritage of our people, including carpets were looted from our museums which were destroyed during the Armenian military aggression against Azerbaijan. Moreover, when IDPs were expelled from their ancestral lands, they were unable to remove most of their ancient carpets. Today, carpets presented by Armenians as their works of art are carpets looted from the occupied regions of Azerbaijan in 1990s. Armenians are trying to present these carpets as their own works of art at various exhibitions, international events and auctions. In fact, the authors of these carpets are Azerbaijani Turks, indigenous people of Karabakh.

Armenians renamed our national carpet patterns as they did with the Azerbaijani cities, settlements and villages in the occupied territories and Armenianized toponyms. It is impossible to achieve anything by making illogical and unjustified additions to the carpet patterns created by Azerbaijani people. They will one day be held accountable for their actions, as well as for deceiving the world community.

As carpet weaving is an ancient art of our people, Azerbaijani state has created a wide network of carpet weaving around the country. At present, 3 out of 21 branches of Azerkhalcha Open Joint Stock Company operate in Karabakh, and 1 in the settlement inhabited by IDPs from Jabrayil district. Hundreds of Karabakh women weave Karabakh carpets on the basis of ancient patterns at these carpet factories.

We strongly condemn the fact that the carpet factory in Tartar, is one of the civilian infrastructure facilities, which has been seriously damaged as a result of the recent shelling of Azerbaijani towns, villages and civilians by the Armenian armed forces. 71 out of 78 people working in the workshop are women. The fact that Armenians opened fire on the carpet workshop shows once again that this terrorist state is targeting the civilian population of Azerbaijan, especially women, and trying to destroy our cultural property. The world's carpet weavers must protest against this vandalism and condemn the inhumane acts of terrorist Armenia.

Finally, it should be noted that Azerbaijani Turks will continue to be engaged in carpet weaving even after thousands of years. Because carpet weaving is an ancient art that has become an unshakable tradition of these people, and carpet weaving is their inborn ability. As President Ilham Aliyev said: “Azerbaijan is the homeland of carpet weaving, our national value, our asset just as mugham and architectural monuments."

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