Last Saturday we made a trip to Quba – one of the regions producing carpets in Azerbaijan. The carpet factory we have visited belongs to Fatima Aghamirzaeva. While having tea with local pakhlava Fatima has revealed lots of information about Quba carpets and later we had a chance to see the process of creating them.
Quba and Tabriz were known to produce the best carpets in Azerbaijan. Now with Tabriz becoming a part of Iran, Quba has taken the leadership. Carpets produced here have a very high density which is around 60 knots, which allows to produce very complicated and fine ornaments. During the revolution and civil war in the beginning of the XX century many Caucasian rugs were brought out from the country and some of them were destroyed. Today it is really difficult to find antique rugs from this region even in museums: most of them are in private collections.
Fatima has put a lot of effort to find and revive the old folk patterns which were in danger of being lost. She travels all over the country and collects the pieces of antique rugs. By doing a lot of research work she reconstructs the entire pattern which is then used for making a new carpet. She showed us the pieces she found: it is so hard to believe that from these odds and ends it is possible to revive the whole rug.
Then we were shown the process of creating a hand-made carpet. Weavers work around 8 hours per day and it takes them around 4-6 months to complete a medium size rug (depending on density and difficulty of pattern). For creating a carpet they use only three hand tools: a knife, a beater and a scissors. This work requires a lot of concentration and patience.
We have noticed that carpets produced here are very dense and thick. We were told that because of this they can last for centuries without loosing its attractiveness. All the wool Fatima buys from Iran: according to her the best wool markets are located there.
Each ornament on oriental carpets has a meaning.
Quba has some specific elements which are characteristic to this region. Some of the most common of them include horn, scissors (which is sometimes also called dirk), grape leaves, dragons and camels. Horn symbolises courage and bravery, scissors is one of the main tool for carpet weaving.
Handmade wool carpet is an amazing feature which will compliment any interior. However to choose a quality one is not that easy. Here are some tips which will help you to do it:
1) Good carpet is thick and dense but at the same time elastic. You can easily fold it several times. Machine made carpets are not flexible and the back side looks like plastic.
2) On hand made carpets you can see the pattern from both sides. Even on the back side it has the same bright colours as on the front: the only difference is that back side does not have pile. On machine made carpets the pattern is barely seen from the back side. The colours look very pale comparing to the front side.
3) You can check the density of the carpet by counting the knots in 10 square centimeters on the back side. 40 x 40 knots and more is considered to be high density. The more density a carpet has the more expansive it is.
4) Carpets with a lot of little and complicated ornaments have the highest value as it is very difficult to make them and the density needs to be very high.
5) When touching the pile, wool should not remain on your fingers even if you try to pull it out.
6) Quality handmade carpet has very straight sides which should not have waves or slopes. If it has it means that the weaver was not accurate (she constantly needs to measure the width of carpet and if she doesn’t the carpet will become wider or narrow in some parts which will result that it will have wavy effect at the end).
After seeing that all carpets in Fatima’s factory have excellent quality we decided to order one rug with her. We have already selected the pattern and it is so exciting that it will be handmade specially for us. Hopefully it will be ready by spring.
If you would like to purchase authentic handmade oriental rug, please visit our Boutique.