Azerbaijan and North West Persia

(Posted on 09/06/16)

Azerbaijan and North West Persia

Today the political boundaries of this north-western region of along the watershed of the Caucasian mountains and the frontier rivers, Araks and Kura.  To the north, Azerbaijan was a Soviet republic, and to the south, Azerbaijan, a province of IraIran run approximately n, covers an area of approximately 40,000 square miles. However, although there are only about five million inhabitants, one can still speak of relatively dense population.  Large areas of the country cover uninhabitable mountain regions, and inhabitants, many of whom are descended from the Turkic tribes and speak a Turkic language, are therefore concentrated in the inhabitable steppes, river valleys and oases of the south Caucasian foothills.

The many different tribes of the region obtain their, not always secure, livelihoods from a variety of occupations: not only from agriculture, especially sheep farming and the manufacture of wool, leather and silk artifacts, but also from copper mining and the oil industry.  Carpet weaving has been a traditional occupation in Azerbaijan for hundreds, if not thousands of years, but the products of today's craftsmen cannot compare in artistry with those which were made in the 19th century and earlier.  Under the keen patronage of the cultured Safavid rulers works of art of incomparable value emerged from the early workshops, such as those of Tabriz.

The best known early carpet designs of northern Azerbaijan are those of the early 'Dragon' carpet. However, even before these were produced, the court workshops of Tabriz in the south are credited with carpets which employed all the designs of the orient.

In more recent times, the most important provenances of typical Azerbaijan and north west Persian carpet weaving are: Ahar, Ardabil, Bakhshaish, Heriz, Karaja, Meshkin, Sanjan, and Tabriz.