The Armenian plateau is one of the ancient centers of carpet weaving. The Armenian rug or carpet has taken different names in different times and regions. In Armenian literature, the word “carpet” is found in the Bible translation since the 5th century.
For centuries, the word “rug” has been synonymous with carpet in literature. It is noteworthy that another name for carpet, “khali” or “gali,” comes from Kalikala, the Arabic name for the city of Karin, known for its rich carpet art. Another synonym for carpet, “bazmakan”, is found in medieval Armenian literature and comes from the word “sit”.
Armenian carpets have harmonious colors due to red, white, blue, green, yellow and their variations. The yellow color is obtained from yellow flowers, the red color from red insects called vortan karmir and the roots of shrubs called toron-rubia, and the green color from walnut shells, from which shades of brown can also be obtained. The black color was obtained from pomegranate peel, the blue color was obtained by mixing dyes from different plants, but mainly the famous indigo dye was imported from India.
In the Middle Ages, the fame of Armenian carpets was largely due to the shades obtained from Vortan Garmir, which is why Armenian carpets were also called “red carpets” during the Arab Caliphate. One of the characteristics of Armenian carpets is the wool of “Balbash” sheep and Angora goat used as raw materials. Cotton and silk yarn were also widely used in the region where cotton and silk yarn cultivation flourished. The most important feature of Armenian carpets is their ornamentation, because none of them is woven just for the sake of it, each pattern has its own meaning and significance.
Armenian carpets bear numerous ritual, pictorial and ideological patterns. The ornaments used in Armenian carpets were also widely used in sculpture, miniatures, architecture and silversmithing.