Wendel Swan: "Influence of Azerbaijani traditions on eastern carpet weaving is huge"

By Vestnik Kavkaza
Wendel Swan: "Influence of Azerbaijani traditions on eastern carpet weaving is huge"

The 5th International Symposium on Azerbaijani Carpets kicked off in Baku today. One of the best experts and collectors of carpet art, chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Conference on Oriental Carpets, Wendel Swan, discussed the importance of Azerbaijani heritage in this sphere of world culture in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.

- How long have you been collecting and studying the art of oriental carpet?

- About 45 years. I collect and research art of peoples of different countries, but carpets of the Caucasus, particularly Azerbaijan, have always been my main interest. 

- How Azerbaijani traditions influenced oriental carpet weaving?

- Today I read a lecture where I tried to explain that Azerbaijan left a huge historical impact on carpet weaving in all regions of the world. Many patterns and other features, natural for Turkic peoples, were created exactly on the territory of Azerbaijan, and those that were created elsewhere have been widely spread through Azerbaijan. Contribution of Azerbaijani culture to carpet weaving is huge. In addition, it has the greatest variety of structures and patterns in the world.

Azerbaijan Carpet Museum

- Are Azerbaijani carpets popular in the West today?

- They are still popular. Museums are especially interested in Azerbaijani carpets. It is clear that today the world is less interested in carpets compared to 40 years ago, since there was a change in styles of interior design, in architecture, there are fewer traditional elements. Everything changes. However, carpets have not lost their significance. I would like to note that many people are still interested in carpets, produced not only in Azerbaijan, but also in the north-west of Iran, for example, where many Azerbaijanis who preserve their traditions live.

- How many Azerbaijani carpets do you have in your collection?

- My collection of antique Azerbaijani carpets has 60 positions.