National crafts of Armenia
National crafts of Armenia. Armenia is a mountainous country. On the tops of the mountains there are eternal snow, and between the high ridges lies a mountain plateau – steppes, dry lands and only a few forests in the foothills. Here, from time immemorial, there lived the ancient people of farmers and pastoralists. The hero of the Armenian epic David Sasunsky was a shepherd. In special veneration were the water, the tree of life, the stork and the crane as heralds of spring, the ox is a symbol of incessant agricultural work.
Armenians for centuries created their own culture, which included the heritage of the tribes of the Hurrites, the Hittites, the Mitannians. “National legends,” writes the well-known Armenian scholar H. Samvelyan, “are to this day the tangible echoes and traces of ancient culture and ancient life that return us to the most ancient tribes and peoples of the Armenian uplands, orient us in the foggy history of this country.” In full measure in this connection, one can speak not only of oral traditions, but also of applied art, which has preserved many priceless ancient folk traditions. Pagan cults that for centuries pervaded the Armenian folk culture: the cult of mountains, stones, plants, animals, water and fire had a decisive influence on the formation of the fundamental concepts embodied in the artistic and imaginative structure of the Armenian folk art.
Despite the fact that the official Armenian-Gregorian church advocated asceticism, against all ornaments, in architecture and applied art, since the 10th century a rather powerful influence of folk culture with its realistic thinking has been traced, thanks to which the pages of ancient
manuscripts are miniatures, I am building walls with paintings.
The history of Armenia is complicated and full of tragic events. Prior to the VIII century, Byzantium and Persia owned Armenia, and from the middle of the VI-th century these lands are captured by the Arabs who brought the new state religion-Islam XIII century – the conquest of Armenia by the Mongols. According to the contemporary, Armenian writer Kirakos, the Mongols caused the country disasters that “surpass everything that history can tell.
Another manuscript narrates in a more prosaic language: “They beat and rob in all corners … There was an order to carry blue patches to Christians to distinguish themselves from Muslims.” In its entirety, the tragedy took place because the culture of Armenia did not want and could not assimilate or adapt to new conditions. The cultural tradition was not interrupted: it stood at the cost of incredible privations. The Armenian culture was so imbued with the ideas of humanism, it is so popular in its essence that it did not compromise in any of its manifestations. The Armenian people, deprived of statehood for centuries, was not subjugated in their spiritual activities, kept and “spared no effort to save national values.” The manuscripts that fell into the hands of the Mongols were redeemed, collecting the last crumbs in the villages. And this is in the conditions of which the contemporary writes that the collection of taxes by the Mongols in the Armenian villages turned into bloody military battles. In 1498, Emir al-Umar collected from Armenia the last, all that remained, on account of taxes for three years in advance.
It is impossible without a special feeling of sincere trembling to feel that reverent respectful attitude to the native land, through which all the works of Armenian authors are permeated. It is in this connection that the tolerance shown by the church to the pagan notions of the people, to its customs and beliefs, is understandable.
The wedding ceremony was held in the church, but the young ones were sprinkled with grain. All this coexisted side by side for centuries – the official religion and pagan cults.
The cultural tradition of Armenia in the Middle Ages developed due to the unprecedented selflessness of Armenian cultural figures. Scientists of Armenia, for example, Gladzor University, for years hid in the caves of the mountains. The greatest, world famous scientists Esai Ntseci, John Vorotnetsi, Grigor Tatevatsi, were in great poverty.
It’s hard to believe that Armenian scientists, artists, masters of folk art have been doing for centuries under the conditions of war and a rare peace. Centuries passed. Armenia was owned by Turks and Persians. According to official data published in Russia, the genocide carried out by the Turks against the Armenians, at the very end of the XIX century, seemed to be an enlightened century, claimed 50,000 lives, 100 Armenians were mutilated, 300,000 were left homeless and without funds. Needless to say, hundreds of thousands of people emigrated from Armenia throughout the years, creating Armenian colonies all over the world, where the traditions of the ancestors and the culture of Armenia were sacred.
Such is the historical picture, against which the death of many monuments of art, and their export abroad, and the loving protection of ancient motifs in art, and the respectful attitude of the Armenians to the craftsman, to the national master are also understandable. It should also be noted the close connection of many aspects of folk art with the professional, for both were fed by the same atmosphere of veneration of folk culture.
Ceramics. With decorative embellishments, the pottery of Armenia has reached our time in traditional forms from the state of Urartu and Hellenism. These vessels for water, dough, cheese and butter even in small size are distinguished by special architectonics and monumentality, simple silhouettes, plastic forms and great practical expediency. All their imagery are connected with the surrounding nature. The golden-reddish tone of the clay in the vessels is consonant with the orange-brown color of Armenia’s sun-scorched spaces, the smooth lines of the plasticity of the vessels reflect the gently sloping lines of its foothills.
On the potter’s wheel men worked, making utensils for sale, women were engaged in stucco ceramics, which were burned in the fire of the hearth. Vessels designed to store salt, which were highly valued, were carefully drained. Often they had a peculiar appearance with numerous holes for airing. The saltcellars made in ceramics were beautiful in a peculiar form, decorated with sculptural heads.
At the present time in the Armenian folk art fruitful development of pottery red! linen ceramics. with unglazed surface decorated with modest scratched patterns. Beautiful velvety rough dark-red surface of baked clay, centuries-verified forms of products.
In the Armenian Middle Ages there was also irrigation ceramics with multicolored watering and granulation of the surface, but it is not typical for the modern state of folk art crafts.
Artistic processing of wood. Same. like ceramics, is organically linked with nature by the artistic craft of processing wood in the Armenian Highlands. Oak, walnut, spruce, linden, apricot and pear tree were made with chairs, cradles, chests, utensils for making dough, mortars, trays and dishes, saltcellars and spoons. Sometimes furnishings and dishes were decorated with simple three-sided engraving, but more often these items were beautiful only with their plastic, practical simple form, the expressiveness of a smooth, superficial tree, beautiful with its texture. AND in ceramics, and in products made of wood of Armenian masters, it is necessary to note the high culture of processing the material.
In the XVIII and XIX centuries in Echmiadzin, Yerevan, Tokat, Karine, Erzurum and Van, large quantities of copper tinned dishes were produced: dishes, jugs, tubs, frying pans. Vegetable patterns in medallions, leafy drawings, images of birds, fish and animals decorated this dish. Many of the drawings of engraving and ornamentation date back to very old prototypes.
Jewelcrafting National crafts of Armenia. From the second millennium BC. e. known and jewelry art. Masters owned the techniques of filigree, mobile and engraving. Vaspurakansky masters created excellent products in the technique of the overhead grains. The most traditional and widespread are jewelry, made in a through openwork scanner. Ornamental compositions are well read in large patterns, a certain connection with the book miniatures of Armenian manuscripts is felt. In these jewelry fabrics are thick, there is a lot of air in the products, they look good at the skylight, they play chiaroscuro, they are visually light, graceful. In the through-scan, there were also some toilet-festive-looking items-boxes, caskets, small boxes. Flat fabric in combination with turquoise decorated necklaces. Armenian jewelry is very tasteful, they are strict and restrained in the design of patterns and patterns, they do not have excessive pomp. Not a luxury, but a special lyricism of images, modesty and sophistication are characteristic for the jewelry art of Armenia even in the case when gilding scans are used.
Stone carving. In Armenian architecture there was not such a magnificent carved architectural decor, as, for example, in the Georgian medieval architecture. On the contrary, the monuments of Armenia are distinguished by the expressiveness of smooth planes and the purity of volumes. All the beauty of carving on stone is concentrated in Armenian carved stone steles – khachkars. Over the centuries, mostly unknown stone masters created this wonder-carved Armenian khachkars. They were installed in many places, near the sacred places, being closely connected with the custom of honoring the stone, characteristic for the times of Armenian paganism.
In the carvings of these tall, above human growth, there are a lot of flat stones from the art of book miniature. In the stone, marked by the date of 1273, the thread has a large pattern, the image of the plane, the generalized silhouette. The center of the composition is a crucifixion with two standing figures on each side. In the upper belt, the god is the father and the angels. At the four corners of the seraph stone. The image is saturated with folk symbolism: in the upper part of the image of the cross, the moon and the sun are placed, and with faces known from pagan times, under the crucifixion is the traditional braided rosette with a pomegranate in the center, r the upper belt- angels-pilgrims with Paul’s staffs – composition is a complex carved braided R by another khachkar of 1308, installed on the territory of the residence of the Catholicos in Etchmiadzin, there is an inscription indicating the master who created it, Momica. This stone – an outstanding decorative work, it is covered with the finest, as lace, carved ornament. On the sides of the composition, vertically downward, there are octagonal, openwork rosettes, each of which differs in pattern, but the right and left sides are identical. In the center of a large field, between the stripes of the rosettes is a picture of a cross, horses: “the trefoil blossoms, below the cross, under its base, there is a large rosette resembling a solar sign. Above the Deesis. three figures in star arches. At the bottom of the stela is an inscription in Armenian. A certain difference in the stylistics of two khachkars, in one of which the planar carving of figures of generalized silhouettes and larger patterns of braids, and in another – a thin ligature of delicate finely carved threads and fewer figurative images, can be explained by the peculiarities of the creative manner of authors or art schools. rule, a subtle poetic feeling, the beauty of flexible lines, special lyricism, careful finishes and the beauty of the material.
The temples in Anne and Lake Sevan, the ancient monastery in Tsakhkadzor and the majestic temple of Hripsime in Etchmiadzin – all these buildings are connected with the heritage of antiquity, Byzantium and Syria, but at the same time they are distinguished by their national character, merged with the surrounding nature of Armenia, saturated with ancient symbols as well as carved khachkars. The peculiarity gives this architecture a material of yellowish-gray and pink tuff. Perhaps, nowhere else, as soon as in Armenia, architectural monuments are so organically connected with the landscape.
In the carvings on the stone, in wood and ceramics there is a single beginning. They are distinguished by the simplicity of forms, the purity of the artistic method, respect for the material, the lyrical principle, the monochrome color scheme and the impression of the work that is difficult to convey by words, as if it embodies national dignity. In Armenian art there was no desire for borrowing, emphasized attention to the external form of the product. More than a decorative form, there is a deep national tradition in the work.
Carpet weaving. One of the ancient Armenian carpets of 1202 is stored in Vienna. His composition is composed of a stylized floral ornament and the motifs of the animal world compiled into it. The carpet is characterized by color relationships, traditional for the Armenian carpet: red, blue, golden with the addition of milk, green and black – an exceptionally beautiful color scheme. A high color culture is generally characteristic of Armenian art: calmed harmony, without contrasts, without accents, not bright thanks to vegetable dyes.
Formerly, pile weaving was widespread, and now only in the countryside they are engaged in pile carpet weaving, and these carpets are in great demand. The traditional Armenian carpet is characterized by a small, almost jeweler figure, which looks like a precious ligature of ornamental plant forms on the carpet field. In this arabesque, the forming compositional lines are lost. Carpet as a verbal ornate fabric of the eastern fairy tale. Pile carpets were made in Vaspurakan, Karine, Zangezur (eastern Armenia), as well as in Karabakh and Yerevan.
Lint-free carpet-carpets were woven even in large quantities than pile carpets. Carpets, hurjins – saddlebags, mafrashes – carpet trunks, capes for saddles and original bags for salt have drawings that cause associations with stained glass. Their background is usually filled with a small colored pattern of green, red, yellow and blue, which looks like a cascade of colored sparks, and this pattern is organized into large white and black figures. Such a pattern of other things is peculiar to sacks for salt atamans. There is also a strip construction of the decor. Stripes are large monochrome dark terracotta or pmioenne, and between them – small diamonds and stars sparkle blue, red and yellow.
In Armenia they make interesting woolen balls. They have geometric patterns on a light creamy background. Balls that used to have a ritual meaning. are similar to those by which the Eskimos met the first arrival of the sun after a long polar night.
Costume. The national costume of Armenia is now, in its appointment, left the realm of everyday life in the field of garment and concert costume. The traditional Armenian national costume for women consisted of a dress, a betgmet, a headdress in the form of a cap with a veil. Previously, cotton fabrics, silk and velvet were locally produced. Beshmet made of velvet bright colors, he had short downward expanding sleeves. The dress of silk light tones had long sleeves and a richly embroidered bib. In the suit of the townspeople and in wedding clothes there was a beautiful strict embroidery with gold and silver thread. The cap was made of barkhat and decorated with gold embroidery and pearls. On the bottom edge of the cap was coined. From the woman’s head hung a long veil, which was painted with soft patterns of vegetable nature Gold-embroidery was concentrated in the Shatakhsky district. Embroidered with silk, gold and silver thread, pillowcases, bedspreads, church and secular cloaks, tablecloths, napkins, head scarves, trousers, aprons. Mostly stitch sutures, stalk and vestibule were used, embroidery with beads is known.
Lace National crafts of Armenia. A simple, light, continuous, lace pattern is distinguished by the Armenian needle lace, the origin of which was traditionally the old city of Van. The lace is sparse, the thread is thin yellowish twisted forms a pattern of round shaped items in the form of a rosette. The socket sometimes has a vortex character. Even in the 1950s, with the general urge to complicate the decorativeness of the product, the Armenian needle lace retained the almost ancient strictness and clarity of the pattern of the rosette composition. In the lace of Armenia, and today attracts adherence to traditions, geometric ornament. True, now the rope is somewhat coarsened in comparison with even the samples of the beginning of the century, and the yellow-cream color was replaced by frankly white, which also did not influence the appearance of the products in the best way. Masters of the current generation E. Gevorkyan, R. Aratunyan, G. Mirzoyan, V. Kocharyan and others follow the best traditions of the Armenian needle lace, maintaining the style accuracy and outstanding mastery. In simpler products, not intended for exhibitions, the tradition of needle lace is sometimes translated into crochet, but these products are not the best typical for fishing.
Artisans deserved special honors in all Armenian folk legends. Products of Armenian masters have always amazed visitors of travelers with thoroughness of manufacture, conscientiousness in manufacture, an uncommon artistic feeling. Armenian masters valued their good name. And in the most difficult historical times, Armenian carpets, silk fabrics, carved articles of stone and wood were famous throughout the world, the finest filigree jewelery, copper utensils, embroidery, lace. Art crafts did not interrupt their rich tradition. The crafts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Zangezur, Lori-Kazakh district, Nor-Bayazet successfully developed.
Do not play down losses throughout the historical development of crafts. From the heritage of Armenian folk handicraft, weaving of mats, embellishment of bath-shirts with luxurious embroideries disappeared, for the ritual of visiting the bathhouse was previously extremely significant, gold embroidery was almost gone from goldsmiths, the craft of patterned felt almost died out. Precisely because folk art has always been closely connected with the everyday needs of a person, changing the conditions of his life, the need for certain products dies with time. However, the accumulated knowledge in the field of one or another handicraft industry is successfully implemented in the works of contemporary professional Armenian artists, carefully and with great attention to the artistic achievements of the remarkable folk Armenian art.