Armenian Carpets: The Origin of The Name
Carpet-weaving is one of the exceptional kinds of Armenian decorative art which has had an original way of development. Carpets were woven in all the provinces of historical Armenia. The word kapert, which in the initial period was used concerning piled carpets as well, was common in the Bible translated into Armenian as far back as the 5th century. Some think that the word established itself in a number of European languages after Armenian carpets appeared in the international market; English-carpet, French-carpette, German-karpet, Serbian-krpita. The Armenians used also the word “khali” and “khalicha”. There is also a supposition that long ago the word bazmakan (bazmel-to sit) was used for piled weavings-carpets.
On the territory of Armenia the earliest woven specimens have been discovered in the Artik burial ground ( 3rd millennium B.C) and Karmir Blur (7th millennium B.C.)
Vishapagorgs were the earliest of Armenian carpets. They are unique not only among Armenian carpets, but in the art of carpet weaving altogether. An important element in Vishapagorgs is the vishap (dragon). An imaginary axis divides the field of Vishapagorgs into 2 equal parts each containing open flowers and rosettes of leaves.
- The main ornament design of the Phoenix subtype consists of 3 rows of winged compositions which in their turn form diamond-shape rosettes enclosing numerous flowers. Those winged fragments were regarded as symbols of the phoenix and the general pattern as the struggle between the phoenix and dragon.
- Arstvagorg (Eagle Carpet) is one of the most remarkable subtype of the floral-animal type, Vishapagorg group of carpets. Typical of Artsvagorgs is a sunburst rosette with juts. Artsvagorgs also represent the Arstagh group of carpets.
- Another subtype of Artsagh carpets is the Otsagorg (Serpent Carpet), which was also called “folk Vishapagorg”. Their medallions are squares, hexagons or diamonds with swastika motifs in their centre which is the mystic symbol of eternity. The eight serpents woven around the square which encloses the swastika. The whole composition symbolizes the creation of the universe.