Patterns on the Fabric of History: An Ode to Carpets

The Museum of Fine Arts is running an exhibition of paintings and archeological artifacts to celebrate the inscription of the traditional art of Turkmen carpet making on the UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The themed exhibition opens with a collection of rarities that provides a unique window into the history of one of the oldest crafts and allows visitors to explore the symbolic and metaphorical meaning of decorative motifs. It includes fragments of the wall-decoration of Bronze Age royal tombs unearthed in Gonurdepe. According to witnesses, when academician Victor Sarianidi saw the fragments for the first time, he exclaimed: A carpet motif! Indeed, the geometrical pattern on the walls is reminiscent of carpet motifs. The space in square and rectangular elements is filled with red, white and black.

Pottery dating to 2000 B.C. also has carpet motifs. A collection of fragments of ceramic vessels discovered during excavations of the ancient settlements of Anau, Namazgadepe, Altyndepe, and Ulugdepe is also on view.

The birth of the national school of painting is known to be closely associated with the creation of the Strike Force School of Arts of the East in Ashgabat. One of its founders was Ilya Mazel, who attempted to learn the secrets of carpet motifs and designs. The exhibition shows his album 'A Carpet Fairytale' with miniature illustrations. His fellow artist Sergey Beglyarov created sketches for a carpet called 'A Baluchi Dance'. Olga Mizgireva, one of the students of the School, produced a wonderful painting 'The Art of a Carpet Maker'. Another graduate of the School, Byashim Nurali, an artist and carpet designer, was one of the pioneers of the art.

The exhibition's next section continues the theme. On display is a portrait of renowned carpet weaver Jovza Shakhberdyeva by People's Artist of Turkmenistan Evgeny Adamov. The carpet maker created a large collection of sketches for carpets and introduced significant innovations in ornamental traditions of carpet making.

A series of paintings entitled 'Carpet Weavers' features works by People's Artist of Turkmenistan Yakub Annanurov, Kakajan Oraznepesov, People's Artist of Turkmenistan Annadurdy Almamedov, and Garakhan Begjanov. They are seen as an ode to the exquisite craftsmanship of Turkmen women, whose talent is recognized all over the world, and carpets of high artistic merit woven by them are one of the treasures of the world's cultural heritage...

People's Artist of Turkmenistan Aykhan Khajiev's painting 'A Happy Land' features a hand-woven carpet laid for a bride leaving her parents' home. In Izzat Klychev's triptych 'A Joyous Day ', a Turkmen carpet is the dominant element of the work.

The exhibition closes with modern carpet masterpieces, pictorial carpets 'Rovach' and 'Akhalteke Horses', designed by People's Artist of Turkmenistan Ada Gutlyev. This is a vivid illustration of the fact that the Turkmen carpet-making traditions are cherished, kept alive and are enriched with present-day artistic devices, and eclectically diverse stylized designs.

Source: Turkmenistan: the Golden Age Online Newspaper