Reconsidering dragon carpet origins
Keywords:Design origins, Dragon carpets, Caucasus, Armenians, Historiography
Armenians have increasingly been eliminated from the weaving history of the Caucasus. Given that Armenians have lived there for millennia and are its only inhabitants attested in both ancient and medieval sources as having been weavers and dyers, it is surely curious they would have abandoned a craft for which they were renowned. Many regional rugs were originally attributed to Armenian weavers, but from the second quarter of the 20th century onwards were reclassified as being either of Turkish (Azeri) or Persian origin. This article reconsiders the available evidence and the way it has been interpreted to arrive at a balanced assessment of Armenians’ contribution to the production of Dragon carpets, the region’s earliest surviving design. Its findings challenge many of the assumptions upon which these conclusions were based, and thus revives the possibility the attributions of earlier authors were more accurate than those of their successors.
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