The Art of Azerbaijan
The Art of Azerbaijan. From the ancient period there are few objects left, but each of them is distinguished by an amazing perfection of technical performance and high artistic skill. In the treasures on the territory of ancient Manna, massive realistically made cast hollow figurines of animals and birds, objects of household utensils and jewelry are still found.
Silver dish and golden breastplate – pectoral, metal vessels with rounded bottoms – all this is evidence of high artistic culture of ancient masters of Azerbaijan.
Since the 7th century, Islam has been affirmed as an official religion from the Arab invasion. The Arab historian Tabari wrote that in the VIII century the golden gates of the temple of the fire-worshipers of Azerbaijan were sent to Mecca and embedded in the wall of the Kaaba.
By the XIII century, the growth of cities, the development of trade exchange in Azerbaijan led to the rise and art crafts. Blacksmithing and jewelry business blossoms in Nakhichevan and Bailakan. Technique of casting from metal on the wax model allowed to achieve high artistic mastery of performance. The pitcher of this time, who is now in the Louvre, is an outstanding monument of Azerbaijani art, works of master Osman, son of Suleiman, has a beautiful sculptural form.
A bird depicting a bird with a thinly minted silhouette. The bird’s head is stylized in the form of a “bottle”.
Polychrome Azerbaijan ceramics is known since the IX century. Particularly characteristic are clay bowls with a sharply narrowed throat, on low legs, with a painted brick and red engobed and transparent glazes or with colored yellow, green, purple waterings. By the XIII century on the territory of Azerbaijan, ceramic centers were formed – Ganja, Bailakan, Mingechaur, Kabala, Barda. A lot of ceramic products were made: bowls, dishes, vases, jugs. They had a characteristic painting of blue, yellow and purple glazes. The surface of the ceramics was enriched with stamps, naleps, engraving. Polychrome color range was different from Bailakan ceramics, and in Ganja, on the contrary, preferred painting with one violet paint. The drawings were predominantly ornamental, but in them plant motifs were guessed. The glazed polychromatic bowls of the 9th-12th centuries from Bailakan deserve special attention, in which we see images of human figures for various kinds of labor occupations: shoemakers, tailors, embroiderers, copper workers, potters and others.
XIII century brought unprecedented destruction to this fertile land. The Mongols have wiped out many cities, including Bailakan and Bardu. Nine tenths of the land remained uncultivated for many years. Until the XVII century, Azerbaijan felt the consequences of this difficult period – not easy for the development of art crafts. But over time, the center of art crafts begins to rise – Tabriz. In Tabriz there is a significant construction, there are large buildings, of which the most famous is the so-called Tabriz Blue Mosque. She has a magnificent decoration, made of stone, covered with juicy geometric patterns, as well as mosaics and tiles, which have a color range of white, turquoise and dark blue flowers, which gave the name of the monument. Among the plant patterns there are blotches of light green, orange, brown and reddish tones, which tells the color composition a beautiful flicker. The decor of this most significant architectural construction testifies to the triumph of ornamental art and the oblivion of the realistic traditions of the previous era.
XVI-XVIII centuries were held in Azerbaijan until the accession to Russia under the authority of the Iranian state Safavids. By the XVIII century on the lands of Azerbaijan there were fifteen independent khanates. There were local schools of art crafts, which had a noticeable influence on the subsequent national development of Azerbaijani folk art.
Ceramics. From the number of ceramic artifacts of Azerbaijan of antiquity one can distinguish Nakhchivan, Apsheron, and a little later – Tabriz school. In modern times, ceramic art was of no significant importance for the development of Azerbaijani folk art.
Medieval Azerbaijani ceramics had a glazed turquoise background, geometric, floral and zoomorphic ornaments, painted with brown, white, green and reddish color. Absheron ceramics have a dark red shard and ocher painting. In addition, Apsheron ceramics are characterized by the use of faience and cobalt painting, which gives a deep blue color.
After a long period of decline, it was not until the 1940s that ceramics began to revive somewhat, but more so in line with the development of professional arts and crafts. In this regard, great interest is the work of A. Ibragimov. Carried out in the 1970s, vessels of reddish clay, without watering, have powerful, elastic lines of shapes, beautifully expressed pure silhouette of elastic, straight-line musical lines. The outline shape does not destroy the thoughtful size of small handles. The forms are devoid of decor, they are monumental, somewhat static and have a deep inner connection with the ceramics of the past.
However, despite the separate and very successful attempts of the artists to revive the Azerbaijani ceramics, which had an ancient artistic tradition, today we still can not talk about the significant development of ceramic art craft in Azerbaijan.
Also weaker in comparison with carpet weaving, fabrication of fabrics and metal products, the craft of artistic wood processing is developing in Azerbaijan. Before, especially in Sheki and Cuba, made of wood, tubs, troughs, trays and rolling pins, tables for cutting dough, saltcellars, flour measurements. But these products were not very decorative. Quite interesting masters worked only on the implementation of wooden gratings for interiors of public and residential buildings – Shebek. These lattices have a strictly geometric through pattern and resemble Uzbek pandzhara.
Artistic metal processing. Large deposits of red copper in the Shamakhi district of the foothills of the Caucasus gave a long and glorious life to the artistic industry of the village of Lagich. Products lagichskih masters known for many centuries. From the copper with the half-made vessels for various needs, trays, household utensils, bath accessories, lamps. A beautiful surface of products with fine engraving, drawings for which were performed by specialists-masters – nuggies, large monumental minted forms, a special attention to the shape of the handle and the plastic of the nozzle of the vessel – all this distinguishes the products and informs them of high artistic merits. Sometimes the dishes were decorated with epigraphy, Arabic dedicatory and benevolent inscriptions. The national oriental forms of the vessels give a great deal of peculiarity to all this copper utensils. The dishes were made in Shamakhi, Nakhichevan, Shusha, Sheki. Bronze and copper stands for light fixtures, slender copper jugs for ablutions, exceptionally beautiful peculiar helmet-shaped hats with a high shish for covering hot food – “serpushi”, grilling braziers, tender exquisite jugs of rose water, perfume bottles and incense, smoking hookah sets – here is not a complete list of all these beautiful original metal products, which were produced in large quantities and filled the eastern bazaars. The bazaar in Baku was a special glory in all the eastern countries.
Forged metal is typical for Sheki and Ordubad. Particularly interesting were the knockers for the doors, decorated with suns, stars and dotted patterns.
Beauty accompanied and military equipment made of metal. Before us came the wonderfully executed helmet of the 17th century. Gold overdrawing on steel, blackening, overhead filigree, stones, engraving juicy large pattern – all this gives the product a splendor, a convincing combination of monumentality and refinement. In such a helmet there are no elements of intimidation, which are often present in military dress.
Jewelry Art. Azerbaijani jewelers-zergers owned all kinds of fine and refined jewelry: filigree, engraving, niello, chasing, perhaps, only the grains were not particularly common.
The centers of the most famous jewelry shops were Nakhichevan, Ganja, Shemakha and Baku. In Baku they made products with hot cloisonne enamel and paintings. They made belts for women’s and men’s suits, horse or weapon decorations, chapraz – silver or copper clasps for women’s costume, silsele – women’s gold and silver jewelry for the front of the skullcap, rings, bracelets, earrings, etc.
In the tradition of decorative Azerbaijani trays, which in old times usually consisted of three interconnected parts, modern master from Baku M. Kasumov performed a fine decorative work. The trays he made, exhibited at the Museum of Azerbaijani Carpet and Applied Art in Baku, drew attention to the seriousness of the application for further development of one of the metalworking directions in Azerbaijan. In decorative compositions, M. Kasumov used ornaments from motifs of flowers and grasses, as well as birds, traditional for Azerbaijani art, in particular, well represented in the design of interiors of the palace of Sheki khans.
Today, another artist, G. Ashumov, who is also developing traditions of Azerbaijani jewelry art, is also interesting in Baku. The earrings “pial”, “fan”, “piala-vang” made of silver made of silver with gilding and application in pearl decoration are of high taste. The main characteristic feature of the traditions of this art is the use of openwork, on the skylight, a thin scan, which forms a voluminous form, light, capricious pattern of metal lines of the pattern. The earrings “baldahinchik”, forms of the inverted “bowl” are especially beautiful. The edges of the bald-dancer, facing down, are richly decorated with pearls. Pearls on the pendant pendants are in constant light, vibrating motion. Strict limitation of the choice of material, color palette distinguishes Azerbaijani jewelers, gives their products special beauty.
Fruitful attempts are being made today to revive hot enamel. In this technique, mainly expensive gift items are created. Large medallions are filled with a thin pattern of the eastern pattern, the space of the plane between the metal partitions – vitreous enamel, which is covered with colored painting.
The richest artistic traditions of Azerbaijani jewelry art are far from exhausted. In ancient times, jewelry was distinguished by the highest art, it was stored, passed on by inheritance, highly appreciated. Just as for the fabric made by Central Asian masters, they gave all the land to give Bukhara, and for the jewelery of the Azerbaijani master offered the city. The poet Fizuli left the following lines:
“You sell, I say!
To you for the ring of the city of gifts »
I said: “Neither sell nor give It is impossible, as the sun does not cover the mud,
I hid my ring in a turban or I wore a secret in my pocket.
Sometimes the beauty of individual pieces of jewelry helped to create legends around them. They became symbols, their glory passed the boundaries.
The art craft of the oldest was in great honor in Azerbaijan. Interesting are the miniatures of the 10th century manuscript “History” Tabari and especially the “Shahname” Firdausi XI century, which tells of the training of Tsar Jemshid his subjects craft blacksmith, gunsmith, weaver, tailor, carpenter. In miniatures of the 13th century, Abdullah ibn el-Fadl tells about embroiderers, shoemakers, tailors, and shaposhniki. It is interesting to examine these miniatures of medieval Azerbaijani manuscripts. The artist Mir-Siyyid Ali performed miniatures in the manuscript by Nizami “Khamsa”, which convey the life of the city in Azerbaijan in the 16th century. Street scenes and interiors of the dwellings, people’s intercourse and furnishings, household utensils, furniture, carpets, tall metal vessels, dishes with paintings, costumes, drawings of fabrics and embroideries, beautiful color lining of buildings – all this was conveyed with scrupulous accuracy and in many everyday details .
The traditional dwelling of the Azerbaijanian is still a colorful spectacle: the floor is covered with carpets, embroidered and carpet mutaks are laid out – cushions in the form of rollers, the walls are decorated with carpets and embroideries, on the shelves and in the niches of walls there is a shiny metal and colorful glazed ceramic ware, chests, carpets, colorful blankets. There was a fireplace and a “yuk” – a place for folding bedding.
Carpet weaving. Azerbaijan carpet weaving is distinguished by outstanding artistic achievements, it is the pride of this republic and the national wealth of our country. Carpet products of Azerbaijan are known from the 2nd millennium BC. e. In his study “Kyropediya”, the Greek historian Xenophon wrote that “the Iranians borrowed clothes, ornaments and carpets from the Medes.” Medes are an ancient population, and such a remark is of fundamental importance, since at the present time in the writings of Western European researchers many Azerbaijani carpets are attributed to the Iranians.
Many poetic lines dedicated the virtues of the Azerbaijani carpet to the poets Nizami Ganjavi, Khagani Shirvani, Mohammed Fizuli.
Carpets were carved in Azerbaijan from the very beginning. Tissues in various techniques of lint-free and nap weaving. The image of the carpet came into oral folklore, in proverbs. They said, advising to be with their people in his joys and sorrows: “Go to the palace with your people”.
Depending on the technique, lint-free carpets were called “shedde”, “zili”, “verni”, “sumacha”. Leading was the artistic craft of making pile carpets. In 1912 in 222 villages.
Only Ganja county alone had 33,069 folk masters, that is, 59% of all handicraftsmen here. With the advent of scissors for cutting carpets, pile carpets began to be called “gaichi”, which means scissors, or “mingrase”, which, in general, is the same. The density of the Azerbaijani carpet is phenomenal: according to the remarkable scientist of Azerbaijan, who devoted 30 years to his study, Latif Kerimov, up to 2 million knots per square meter of carpet!
Pile carpets of large size – “Khali” or smaller – “Khalcha” represented various purposes household items along with floor and wall carpets. These are tires for saddles, saddle bags – hurjins, which hung from both sides of the animal, thrown over his back, carpet chests for things – mafrashes, bags for grain – chuvaly, rugs – namazlyki and many others that differed mainly in geometric ornaments on hot saturated color red background. The refined color relationships of Azerbaijani carpets were possible due to the use of vegetable dyes: pomegranate peels, onion peels, shells of green walnut, indigo, and madder root.
Carpets were the items of export to many eastern and western countries. In the paintings of Italian and German masters, in particular, on the canvases by Carlo Crivelli and Hans Holbein, one can see images of the Azerbaijani carpet.
By the XVII century, the main centers of Azerbaijani carpet weaving, which were given to the market and produced by order of masses of carpets, were formed. This is the Kuba-Shirvan – the north-eastern region, the western Ganja-Kazakh, southern Karabakh and Tabriz-Ardebil.
Undoubtedly a very definite stylistic connection between the Azerbaijani book miniature, the flowering of which is connected with Tabriz, and the carpets of the Tabriz school, whose appearance differs substantially from
carpets of other centers. Figures for Tabriz carpets were often made by professional artists and nobility, but the role of the master performer, in fact, the co-author, was exceptionally great.
An ancient Tabriz carpet was often plot, figurative for all its ornamentality and decorativeness. Represented scenes with many actors, with the inclusion in the canvas of ornamental floral lush patterns, images of birds and animals, buildings and people.
So, for example, a well-known carpet from Tabriz XVI century is perfect in the transfer of a flowering garden, various animals, birds, flowerpots, rozans, as well as a cotebe – perfectly reproducing Arabic inscriptions of sayings and poems. Since the XV century, with the establishment of the power of the dynasty of the Timurids, they were especially interested in depicting hunting scenes. The compositions of the hunting – “shepherd” in carpets are like an exquisite book miniature. They brilliantly reproduced in the technique of carpet weaving the images of hunters, birds and animals, braided as a golden-patterned pattern, motifs of a spring flowering garden. In the patterns of the Tabriz carpets, despite all the prohibitions of Islam, images of a man, a beast, a pheasant – a sacred solar bird, are often reproduced.
The so-called “Sheikh Sefi” – a carpet from the Ardebil mosque, up to ten and a half meters long, made in 1530 by an unknown genius by the order of Maksud Kashani, is world famous.
In the center of the carpet, the thin interweaving of the pattern form a medallion, which, as it were, is made from precious stones. On the dark blue background of the carpet, the medallion sparkles, like the sun. In this carpet, this technique helps create an impression of the solar sparkle of a blue background. The medallion is a large central rosette, surrounded by tear-shaped elongated figures, like rays. From the rosette-sun on the vertical carpet are directed from the center of the image of two ancient lamps – the Zoroastrian motif, which has passed in the art of carpet making through the centuries. Figures in one quarter of the central medallion frame the corners of the carpet. The whole field of the carpet is surrounded by a white stripe that divides the carpet and its rim – a broad band of a darker color. In the cartouche on the carpet, Hafiz’s verse is written, which, unfortunately, has not been translated into any of the publications I know. The carpet has a date and an inscription that indicates its owner,
Carpets Tabriz school – a unique highly artistic page of Azerbaijani art. Due to the richness of the patterns, the refinement of the color scheme and the special spirituality, they are unrivaled.
The Tabriz school of carpet weaving had carpets of a different nature, mostly already in the 19th century, which differed in the geometric nature of the ornamentation and some dryness of the pattern.
Carpets cube-Shirvan, Ganja-Kazakh and Karabakh in relation to the Tabriz school are completely different. They have more folk feeling and traditional elements than in Tabriz carpets of a palace character.
Cuba-Shirvan carpets are characterized by low pile high density. The central field consists of a “Burma” ornamentation, which is a combination of a geometric image of a saber with a handle and curved tour horns. To these basic figures can be added stylized images of swans, stars, colors, patterns of plant shoots. There are also numerous variations of this type of carpet, such as, for example, in which the composition is a large central medallion of a darker tone with respect to the background and four medallions at the corners of the carpet or compositions consisting of two rows of large medallions in the center. In all these variants, the rim is usually broad, multiband, and often exceeds the central field in width. Shirvan carpets are characterized by large octagonal figures in the central field. Ornamentation of all components of the carpet is more dryly geometrized in relation to the Cuban. The exception is a “heel” carpet, distinguished by thin, flexible lines of a gilt pattern that uniformly fills the whole field of the carpet. The pattern is shallow, shimmering, sparkling with a trace of arabesque compositions.
Ganja-Kazakh carpets are quite diverse. Ornaments of these carpets are geometric, strict, clear lines. Many open fields, medallions are placed on the background freely, not uneasily. In the carpet of the “ganja” of this group ornaments are somewhat curvilinear and fill the field more richly.
Some of the damage already in our time to the Azerbaijani carpet weaving was caused by the orientation in the 1950s towards stankovism in applied art. This led to the spread in the carpets of the portrait, various pictorial real elements, panoramic compositions, images of architecture and other things not peculiar to this art form. True, these passions passed quite quickly and did not affect the fundamentals of Azerbaijani carpet weaving.
Moreover, this trend made us remember the fine examples of Tabriz carpet making and helped to create a decorative decorative carpet on the new stage. In this respect, the emergence of such a work as “Kör-ogly” of master 3. Shakurova from Shemakha district is of fundamental importance. A beautiful composition consists of the image of a rider in military dress and a female figure in a national costume on a dense red background. The group is surrounded by flowers, birds, shoots. The rim is a garland of flowers.
Thus, for the current state of the carpet art craft of Azerbaijan, two directions of completely different artistic and imaginative styles are equally traditional: ornamental and ornamental and plot carpet. They are brought together by a color scheme, in which there is much in common, the predominance of the background over the pictorial part.
Weaving. Heel. For the time being, widespread silkworm breeding in Azerbaijan contributed to the flourishing of silk weaving and silk embroidery on silk. Silk products were famous for Nukha, Garabagh and Ordubad.
Highly artistic “Kyzylbash” fabrics were used for making ceremonial dresses of the highest nobility and clergy. The Shirvan courtyard shone with gold brocade and jewelery, beautiful carpets and precious weapons. The centers of gold embroidery were Shemakha, Baku, Shusha. Embroidery with colored silks is distinguished by small floral ornamentation, careful, almost jeweled execution of seams. Especially interesting in this respect is embroidery “gyazma” on the colored backgrounds of silk fabric. The field of the embroidered product is entirely sewn with patterns of red, green, blue silk, and a wide border of dark color has only far apart from each other images of vases and a three-petalled bud or an image of a palmette. Precious embroidery spread curtains, bedspreads, pillow covers, garments, rags for combs, glasses, bottles. Gold embroidery and silk embroidery were enriched with the use of sequins, beads, patterned quilting.
And now beautiful gold embroidery products are made in Baku to decorate the interior and clothing.
Of considerable interest was the widespread Nukha embroidery that was practiced by Nuhi men in the past.
Narrating about the peoples of the Caucasus, the Greek historian Herodotus in the V century BC. e. said: “They paint clothes by means of spreading plant juices, the colors of which do not fade for a long time.” On the vegetable dyes for textiles, the Azerbaijanis wrote in the XIII century, Marco Polo.
In the works of folk masters of the East and. in particular, the symbolism of color was of great importance in Azerbaijan. She acquired particular importance in such conservative customs as funerals and weddings. The costume of the bride was unlike the ordinary and even festive costume of women, primarily by her color relationships. The head of the bride was cleaned with a veil of red color. Her hair and hands were painted with red henna. On the bride’s headscarf there was a traditional embroidery of a deep symbolic meaning – birds around the sun. The red fabric of the bride’s dress had a pattern representing large rosettes of a vortex character, surrounded by peas, like peas. Let’s remember this, we will meet similar motives in the art of Central Asia. Attributes of the costume of the bride reminds us of the apparel of the goddess – Anahita maidens, who was a member of the pantheon of the gods of Zoroastrianism. Before the bride they carried a lit torch – also an ancient symbol of fire worship. We speak about this in such detail, because color has in the folk art not only a decorative meaning, but also a deeply meaningful, semantic, connected with the moral categories of the people’s worldview. The red color represented fire, and therefore life.
A unique artistic phenomenon can be called the Azerbaijan heel, dyed with vegetable dyes on silk fabric. First of all, these are beautiful women’s headscarves – “kelagai” (in another transcription – “kyalagei”). These scarves today are decorated with patterns with the help of wooden stamps, fixing the pattern with hot wax. The fabric is dyed up to ten times. The drawing is distinguished by its complexity, harmony and high taste. By the beauty of the patterns, such heels remind gold embroidery. On a dark background – brown, black or dark purple, a pattern with a predominance of red or gold paint was applied. Miracle-patterns kelagai make these works of folk art small masterpieces. Such fabrics were best made in the Shemakha district. The outstanding master of the patterned kelagai in our time is Azim Askerov. From his works, covered with a gold cobweb of patterns, truly a spicy fragrance, the smell of flowers. His works with a golden image of calligraphically executed delicate drawings are magnificent.
Kelagai are an integral part of the national costume.
Costume. Azerbaijani women’s national costume has several regional options. Common is colorful, pronounced femininity, beautiful embroidery, jewelry. The earliest images of the national costume are found in the book of the secretary of the embassy of the Schleswig-Goldstein duchy who visited Russia and the Caucasus in the middle of the 17th century Adam Olearius. Earlier images can be found only in miniatures and frescoes. Unfortunately, even in museum collections there is no folk costume, dated to the XIX century.
In the XIX century, traditionally worn a shirt, a wide skirt in the assembly, pants and outer clothing such as a camisole, with embroidered breasts and sooty sleeves that are above the elbow ends in a shuttlecock. On the braids – a cap in the form of a saucer, with a veil. Camisole and skirt are combined in color. On top of a camisole, women wore a metal, richest jewelry belt on a leather base. Girls BELTS did not wear. The jacket was of light fabric, of soft colors, with long sleeves that fell from under the sleeves of the sleeves of the jacket.
The artistic heritage of Azerbaijani folk crafts has an enduring significance. Attaching great importance to the preservation of the unique art heritage of the republic. The Soviet government initiated the work of the security order. Already in June 1920, the order of the Revolutionary Committee of the AzSSR “On the Recording and Protection of Art Monuments” was issued. In the same year, I established the Museum of the Azerbaijan SSR on the basis of the archaeological collections of the Azerbaijani Parliament. In 1927, the Council of People’s Commissars adopted a resolution on the organization of the Azerbaijan State Art College, which in 1938 got the status of the Azerbaijan Art College. In the middle of 1921, the decree of the Revolutionary Committee “On Measures to Promote Handicraft Industry. Personnel training. restoration and study of monuments of art, exhibitions, competitions, design of cities and towns for revolutionary holidays. the creation of works for museums – all this caused a significant rise in folk art. In our time, not only has its importance not lost, but the experience of the Azerbaijan Committee of the handicraft and handicraft industry has gained relevance, since, in caring for the development of folk arts, the committee raised the question of specificity of their “conomic and creative development as opposed to a large state industry.
Traditions of highly artistic craftsmanship of folk crafts have a great positive impact on the formation of the creative face of major art enterprises of Azerbaijan. In our time, this is the Baku jewelry factory, Kashlinsky earthenware factory, Nukhinsk silk factory, carpet factory “Azerkhalcha”.