The Karabagh carpets are made up of 33 compositions. Due to the specifics of the local sheep wool, the Karabagh carpets are characterized by thick, high and fluffy pile. These carpets distinguish themselves with their vivid and joyous colours. They are divided into four groups: without medallions, with medallions, namazlik and subject carpet. These carpets were made in the mountainous part of Karabagh – in Malibayli, Muradxanli, Dasbulaq, Cabrayil, and Horadiz and in many other villages.
The Karabagh carpet school on the south-western Azerbaijan developed in two regions – in upland and lowland areas. Written accounts by Arab historian al-Muqaddasi, Masudi and others indicate that beginning from the 10th century; two major centres of craftsmanship were engaged in wool and cotton production in mountainous part of Karabagh. The town of Susha and the villages of Dasbulaq, Dovsanli, Girov, Trniviz, Canaxca, Tug, Tuglar, Hadrut, Muradxanli, Qasimusagi, Qubadli, Qozag, Mirseyid, Bagirbayli, Xanliq, and Dag Tumas played a leading role in the carpet weaving in the 19th century. As against the mountainous region, no doubt the carpet weaving had a special place in the better-equipped lowland areas of Cabrayil, Agdam, Barda and Fuzuli. Each of these centres had a lot of villages engaged in the carpet weaving for commercial purposes. For their graphical structure, technological peculiarities and colours, Zangazur and Naxcivan carpet weaving centres are also part of the Karabagh carpet school.
Aran, Bagcadagullar, Baliq, Buynuz, Barda, Bahmanli, Karabagh, Qoca, Qasimusagi, Lambarani, Mugan, Talis, Lampa, Malibayli, Xanqarvand, Xanliq, Xantirma, Calabi, Sabalidbuta, and other pattern carpet compositions are classic samples of the KarabaghSchool of the carpet making. A package of five carpet-rugs fitted to interiors of houses in Karabagh is widespread.
In early 1750, the khan of Karabagh Panahali laid the foundation of Susa. In the beginning the town was called Panahabad and was the capital of the Karabagh khanate for many years. In the 18th century the Karabagh carpet making school concentrated in Susa. In the 18th century along with the patterned carpets in Susa, new carpet compositions – Bagcadagullar, Saxsidagullar, Bulud and other patterns were woven copying designs of salvers, fragrant soaps, chintz and other wide-ranging home things imported from Russia and Europe. The palette of colour and dye of the Karabagh carpets is highly rich. This palette reflects the gentlest shades of colours of Karabagh’s wide-ranging nature. In addition to various plants, dyes were made of diverse insects there. We must do our utmost to liberate Karabagh – Azerbaijan’s integral part from the Armenian occupation and end the looting of our national resources. It is our duty to regain the control over our riches there. The motifs of the Karabagh carpets are peerless for their graphic value and originality.
Along with nice paintings, the Karabagh carpets previously contained hunting scenes, however, at later stage we clearly saw the lost of interest in hunting scenes by carpet weavers. They almost lack dynamic hunting scenes and only depicted attributes, symbols of the hunting. Later this process deepened further and in the first quarter of the 20th century, the hunting motifs completely disappeared as a topic, giving way to depictions of animals connected with another only for the sake of composition. This explains the impact of Sadda carpets on the piled carpets. Old pileless Sadda carpets are primitive for their composition and are made on principles of horizontal symmetry and similar type human and animal figures are repeated equally and endlessly. Having lost interests in complete hunting motifs, pile carpet weavers use the same artistic principle. For instance, at the end of 19th century pile carpets depicting horses and dogs, dogs and cats, deer and gazelles and so on were woven. As for the composition, they are horizontal stripes with depictions of animals. The Karabagh carpets, devoted to folklore hero and the character of the Sahnama (the Book of Kings) by the Persian poet Firdovsi, are incomparably beautiful. The series of Rustam and Sohrab carpets are worthwhile for proximity of the traditional compositions to the spirit of the people. These are incomparable pearls of the carpet-making profession for their idea and artistic features. The subject-based carpet making in the KarabaghSchool developed uniquely.
The carpets known under the name of Karabagh were and are still made at all carpet-weaving workshops across Azerbaijan. Depending on the location, the carpets were given different names but the art experts referred to all of them as Karabagh. This composition of the carpets, woven in Susa in 19th century for sale at Istanbul bazaars were given various names of Khan or Khan Karabagh, whereas the carpets woven on the basis of the same design in Quba were named Africa.
1. The composition of the central area that consists of several medallions mainly resembles the ornamental fabric of Iran and India, especially the curtains made of printed cloth. These medallions decorated with foliate elements can also be encountered on the Koran’s cover and on the jackets of the books designed by the Tabriz artists in the 15th-17th centuries. The titles in the upper and lower parts of the medallions fill the empty spaces between the medallions in the central area.
2. There are also Karabagh carpets that are referred to by carpet makers as Cini-cesni. The composition of these carpets is formed by octagonal medallions lined up in a row.