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Tabasaran – homeland of carpet weaving.

The Republic of Dagestan, Tabasaran region

Almost every aul of Tabasaran is famous for its inimitable in its beauty and drawing handicraft carpets. The art of carpet weaving in Daghestan as a traditional trade roots in ancient days. Secrets of the handicraft are passed on from one generation to another, from mother to daughter, patterns and compositions are being perfected. Carpet weaving is the most widespread type of handicraft industry in Daghestan.It got opportunity for its development in the 20-30s of previous century, when on the basis of cooperation of female masters who used to work alone more than ten artels were established. Daghestanian handicraft carpets have national character and are highly appreciated as family relics. They are distinguished by high strength, durability (average period of carpets’ exploitation is about 200-300 years), ability of initial choice of color gamut, solidity, pile’s height, inimitable color gamut and compositional decisions, diversity of drawings and sizes. Carpets, as works of non-aging and forever young original art, saved traditions and technology of production from distant past to present days.

They find a wide use for decoration of interior of houses and public premises, go well together with any kind of furniture, and give a room a homelike look. The basis of Daghestanian carpets’ patterns is geometrical ornament, depicting symbolic silhouettes of animals, birds and vegetation from surrounding nature and everyday life. In the present days a lot of types of carpets are produced: carpets with imprints of various drawings, portraits, landscapes, monuments of architecture, historical persons. It’s possible to imprint practically any image from a photograph to a carpet. Carpets without pile and carpets with relief images are produced. Their distinctive features are contrasting combination of warm and cold tones, outlined by contour color, what gives the pattern clear expressiveness and refinement. Carpets from Tabasaran can be seen in the museums of New York, Paris, Montreal, Osaka, Leipzig, Milan, Tokyo and other cities. Tabasaranian carpets are not inferior in quality to the best world standards.

They are the permanent exhibits on the international and domestic trade fairs and exhibitions, where they are awarded with prizes of honor and gold medals: in Brussels (Belgium, 1958) and Leipzig fair (GDR, 1967). The carpets were included in the world catalogue under names “Tabasaran”, “Derbent”, “Akhti”, “Mikrakh”. Tabasaranian handicraft carpets amazed by their beauty and splendor the citizens of Russia at the Russian festival of economic and cultural cooperation “Moscow and regions of Russia 2000”, which took place in Russian Exhibition Center in the end of August of 2000. At this festival Dagestanian carpets won a gold medal in the nomination “National trades and artistic works” in the contest “Best merchandise of Russia 2000”.In 2000 Daghestanian carpets won in the nomination “Carpets and carpeting items of handicraft” in the all-Russian Program-contest “100 best merchandise of Russia”, organized by Government Standard of Russia, Academy of quality issues and editorial-informational agency “Standards and quality”.

In old times testing of carpets’ quality went in three phases: 1 – a herd of horses were led past a carpet, that had just been woven; 2 – after that the product was kept in the broiling sun for several days; 3 – the last phase was putting the carpets into water and leaving them there for some time. If after all these “ordeals” carpeting item didn’t lose its qualities, the master was considered to have done excellent work.  

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