Decorative Arts

One of the types of fine arts in Azerbaijan is decorative applied art.  Types of decorative-applied arts include carpet weaving, batik (kalagai), tapestry, pottery (ceramics), weaving and embroidery, jewelry, artistic glass, artistic carving (carving on wood, metal, stone, bone), etc. 

In the XI-XV centuries, ceramics occupied an important place among the types of decorative arts in Azerbaijan.

Samples of Azerbaijani ceramic art are divided into two large groups according to their use and many artistic features. The first of them are pottery used in everyday life, and the second is tiles used in architecture.  The biggest peak of Azerbaijan's ceramic art is the production of glazed pottery.

In the XVI-XVII centuries, the most prominent among the Azerbaijani fabrics are the high and golden fabrics woven in the palace workshops.  Fabrics decorated with floral ornaments are the most original pieces of fabric that have come down to us, dating back to the XV-XVI centuries.

The creation of artistic pieces woven in the XVI-XVII centuries under the influence of miniature art of the period is confirmed by two samples of pieces exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

In the XVI-XVII centuries, we often see floral ornaments, one of the most common decorative elements of the period, on Azerbaijani carpets.  Among the carpets created during this period, the carpet woven for the Sheikh Safi Mosque in Ardabil in 1539 should be especially noted.

Several unique piled and non-piled carpets woven in the 18th century in Karabakh, Ganja, Gazakh, Guba, Shamakhi and Baku are now kept in some museums and private collections in our country and abroad.

 In the 18th century, in addition to pile carpets, Azerbaijan also produced a large number of high-quality, non-pile carpets widely used in life and everyday life: kilim, palaz, vermi, shadda, sumakh, zilli.

From the XVIII-XIX centuries to the present day, many examples of jewelry have arrived.  Research in the field of artistic metal art shows that in the XVIII century in Azerbaijan, household utensils and jewelry made of metal, weapons were mainly decorated by 6 technical methods.

 The tracery is called a picture or pattern made of thin winding wire in jewelry. The tracery is made in two main ways, the first is the base of the item with gold and silver wires, and the second is the decoration on the item.

The most well-known center of coppersmithing in Azerbaijan was Shamakhi, Lahij village.

In the 70s of the XIX century in Lahij about a thousand people were engaged in the art of coppersmithing.

Beginning in the early twentieth century, Azerbaijan's decorative and applied arts began to develop anew.  In those years, carpet weaving was further developed from folk decorative-applied arts.

Along with ornamental carpets, carpets woven with portraits and plot compositions also developed at that time.

The thematic carpets created in Azerbaijan in those years include a carpet woven with a portrait of the classic Iranian poet Firdovsi of world literature, as well as carpets dedicated to the plots in the poems of the great poet and philosoph of the XII century Nizami Ganjavi.

 The next stage in the development of decorative and applied arts in Azerbaijan dates back to the 1950s.  During this period, a large porcelain vase, which O. Shikhaliyev called "Shirin in Hunt", attracted attention.  It is a hunting scene taken from Nizami's poem Khosrov and Shirin.  Another exemplary work of art during these years was the decorative-sculptural group "Seven beauties" created by H.Abdullayeva from porcelain.

During these years, certain successes have been achieved in the field of artistic woodworking, which is one of the original types of our decorative-applied art.  In those years, the first place among wood products in terms of both technical and artistic level was given to wood products decorated with inlay and intarsia techniques.