Karabakh rugs and carpets

Karabakh Carpets: A Comprehensive Guide to Their History, Craftsmanship, and Cultural Significance 2023

  • Post last modified:April 28, 2023
  • Reading time:14 mins read
  • Post category:Azerbaijan

Have you ever marveled at the intricate patterns and vibrant colors of a handwoven carpet In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of Karabakh carpets, one of the most famous and historically significant Azerbaijani carpet weaving traditions.

Jump into their rich history, craftsmanship, and cultural significance, and discover what sets these unique works of art apart from the rest.

 Karabakh Carpets

A Brief History of Karabakh Carpets

Originating in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, these carpets have been crafted by skilled weavers for centuries, with the oldest surviving examples dating back to the 13th century. Karabakh carpets are characterized by their unique designs, often featuring geometric patterns, floral motifs, and symbolic representations of animals and humans.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in traditional carpet weaving techniques, leading to increased global recognition and appreciation for Karabakh carpets.

The Art of Karabakh Carpet Weaving

Mastering the Craft

The art of Karabakh carpet weaving begins with the master weaver, whose knowledge and skill are passed down through generations. These artisans possess a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the intricate designs and symbolism that define Karabakh carpets.

Techniques and Materials

Karabakh carpets are typically crafted using the knotted-pile weaving technique, which involves tying individual knots to the warp threads, creating a dense and durable pile. Natural materials such as wool, cotton, and silk are used, with dyes derived from plants and minerals to achieve the carpets’ distinctive colors.

Decoding the Designs

The symbolism behind common patterns and motifs in Karabakh carpets is rich and varied. Geometric shapes may represent the natural world, while floral motifs symbolize abundance and fertility. Animals and human figures often hold cultural or religious significance, revealing a glimpse into the beliefs and values of the Azerbaijani people.

Azerbijani rugs

Where to Buy Karabakh Carpets

When it comes to purchasing authentic Karabakh carpets, it’s essential to know where to look. Here are some tips and recommendations for finding these beautiful works of art:

Local Markets and Artisans in Azerbaijan

One of the best places to find genuine Karabakh carpets is in Azerbaijan itself. The capital city, Baku, hosts several markets and galleries showcasing locally crafted carpets. Some notable locations include:

  • Təzə pir məscidi Carpet Market – A bustling market located near the historic Təzəpir Mosque, offering a wide variety of carpets from various regions, including Karabakh.
  • Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum – Although primarily a museum, this institution also has a shop where you can purchase authentic Azerbaijani carpets, including Karabakh pieces.

Additionally, consider visiting the Karabakh region and its surrounding villages, where local artisans still practice traditional carpet weaving techniques. This not only ensures the authenticity of your purchase but also supports the local economy and the preservation of this art form.

Karabakh rugs

Reputable Online Retailers and Auction Houses

With the increasing global demand for Karabakh carpets, several reputable online retailers and auction houses now offer these works of art for sale. Some well-regarded platforms include:

  • 1stdibs – A global marketplace for antique and modern furniture, art, and fashion, featuring a curated selection of Karabakh carpets.
  • Sotheby’s – The world-renowned auction house occasionally includes Karabakh carpets in their auctions of antique rugs and textiles.

When purchasing online, be sure to verify the authenticity of the carpet and the credibility of the seller. Look for detailed descriptions, clear photographs, and any available provenance or certification documentation.

Specialized Carpet Galleries and Dealers

In major cities around the world, you may find galleries and dealers specializing in antique and traditional carpets, including Karabakh carpets. These establishments often have knowledgeable staff, who can help you identify and select the perfect piece for your collection. Be prepared to pay a premium for carpets from reputable dealers, as they often guarantee authenticity and quality.

Remember, when purchasing a Karabakh carpet, it is crucial to conduct thorough research and consult experts to ensure you are investing in an authentic and high-quality piece.

Categories of Karabakh Carpets

Karabakh carpets can be divided into four main categories, each with its unique characteristics and designs:

  1. Kataba – Known for their large, central medallions and bold colors
  2. Malibayli – Characterized by their intricate, all-over patterns and vibrant hues
  3. Shusha – Distinguished by their stylized floral and animal motifs
  4. Dashbulaq – Featuring geometric designs and a more subdued color palette
karabakh carpets 1

The Cultural Significance of Karabakh Carpets

A Reflection of Azerbaijani Culture and History

Karabakh carpets serve as a testament to the rich cultural heritage and history of Azerbaijan, with their unique designs reflecting centuries of artistic and social evolution.

The Role of Carpets in Azerbaijani Homes and Ceremonies

In traditional Azerbaijani homes, carpets played a central role in both practical and ceremonial functions. They were used to insulate floors and walls, as well as to mark special occasions such as weddings and religious celebrations.

Storytelling and Communication

Beyond their aesthetic appeal, Karabakh carpets also served as a form of storytelling and communication. The weavers encoded stories, messages, and even personal experiences into their designs, creating a visual language that transcends time and place.

  • Azerbijani handmade carpet inhouse
  • Azerbijani rug design
  • Azerbijani rug in a house

Karabakh carpet prices

Karabakh carpet prices can vary significantly depending on factors such as age, size, design, materials used, and the overall condition of the carpet. Authentic antique Karabakh carpets, which are highly sought after by collectors, can command high prices, ranging from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.

Contemporary Karabakh carpets, handwoven by local artisans using traditional techniques, are generally more affordable, with prices starting from a few hundred dollars for smaller pieces. It is important to keep in mind that the quality, rarity, and provenance of the carpet play a crucial role in determining its value. When considering a purchase, it is advisable to consult with experts or reputable dealers to ensure a fair price and an authentic, high-quality piece.

Practical Applications and Recommendations

Identifying Authentic Karabakh Carpets

When seeking to purchase an authentic Karabakh carpet, look for the following characteristics:

  • Hand-knotted pile weaving technique
  • Use of natural materials and dyes
  • Distinctive Karabakh designs and motifs

Proper Care and Maintenance

To preserve the beauty and longevity of your Karabakh carpet, follow these tips:

  • Rotate the carpet regularly to ensure even wear
  • Vacuum gently to remove dirt and debris
  • Consult a professional for cleaning and restoration services
Azerbijani carpets

Incorporating Karabakh Carpets into Modern Interior Design

Karabakh carpets can make a stunning addition to any living space, bringing warmth, texture, and a touch of history. Consider the following ideas for incorporating these works of art into your home:

  • Use a Karabakh carpet as a statement piece in your living room or bedroom
  • Layer a Karabakh rug over a larger, neutral carpet for added dimension and interest
  • Display a smaller Karabakh carpet as wall art or a tapestry
azerbaijan carpet


Karabakh carpets, with their intricate designs and rich history, serve as a testament to the skill and creativity of Azerbaijani weavers and the enduring cultural significance of these works of art. As we continue to explore and appreciate the art of Karabakh carpet weaving, we not only celebrate a unique aspect of Azerbaijani culture but also contribute to the preservation and promotion of this centuries-old tradition. How might the art of Karabakh carpet weaving continue to evolve and adapt in a modern world while still honoring its roots and cultural significance

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are Karabakh carpets
    Karabakh carpets are a historically significant Azerbaijani carpet weaving tradition, originating from the Karabakh region. They are known for their intricate designs, geometric patterns, floral motifs, and symbolic representations of animals and humans.
  2. How are Karabakh carpets made
    Karabakh carpets are handwoven using the knotted-pile technique and natural materials such as wool, cotton, and silk. The vibrant colors are achieved using dyes derived from plants and minerals.
  3. What are the categories of Karabakh carpets
    Karabakh carpets can be divided into four main categories: Kataba, Malibayli, Shusha, and Dashbulaq, each with its unique characteristics and designs.
  4. What is the cultural significance of Karabakh carpets
    Karabakh carpets serve as a reflection of Azerbaijani culture and history, playing an essential role in traditional homes and ceremonies while also serving as a form of storytelling and communication.
  5. Where can I buy authentic Karabakh carpets
    Authentic Karabakh carpets can be purchased at local markets and artisans in Azerbaijan, reputable online retailers and auction houses, and specialized carpet galleries and dealers around the world.