Azerbaijan Carpet Museum received precious Khatai carpet as a gift


Unique 17th-century Khatai (Dragon) carpet, purchased especially for the museum abroad, was donated to the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The carpet was kept in private collections in Austria and Italy for many years.

Khatai composition belongs to the type of carpets known throughout the world as Ajdahali (Dragon). In the Middle Ages these carpets were woven only in Azerbaijan ˗ Karabakh and Shirvan. They were exported to foreign countries through the Great Silk Road. Nowadays carpets of this type are preserved in museums and private collections around the world.

Dragon carpets, that is, carpets with Ajdahali composition, represent one of the most interesting branches of Azerbaijani Carpet Weaving. They became a logical stage in the development of Khatai composition, which was widely used in the palace carpets of Safavid period. The images of a dragon, Simurg, palmettes, and other floral motifs and fantastic creatures were depicted in the central field of Khatai carpets. Traditionally, the stylized dragon images are woven around the palmettes serving as an amulet. The palmette represents a flower, which is a symbol of life, and the dragon signifies the guardian of life. The dragon motif usually symbolized protection on carpets. These carpets were intended to bring happiness and abundance to the house. Here, the dragon image is replaced by the tree of life motif, which is our carpet’s distinctive feature. This carpet is one of the Dragon carpets, woven in professional workshops of Karabakh.

As a rule, Dragon carpets of Khatai type, being originally palace carpets, had large sizes. This specimen is also quite large in size ˗ 464x228 cm. The carpet color matches that brilliant epoch: the mixture of black, navy, purple, blue, green, yellow and white colors against the red background.

“Ajdahali carpets are exceedingly rare (as 17th-century carpets in general). There are very few of them both worldwide and in our country. There are no examples of this type of Khatai composition in our country. Thus the gift of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation is of great importance not only for the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum’s collection but for our entire culture as a whole,” says Shirin Melikova, Director of the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum.