The Fifth International Symposium on Azerbaijani Carpets, Baku
The Fifth International Symposium on Azerbaijani Carpets (ISAC 2017) took place on 17-20 October 2017 in Baku. The programme was ambitious, with three days of lectures, special museum exhibitions and numerous cultural events. The symposium was followed by a HALI Tour in Azerbaijan and Georgia.
The robust academic programme, organised in partnership with the International Conference on Oriental Carpets (ICOC), featured talks from academics, museum professionals and independent scholars from all over the world. Topics ranged from the impact of the Kashmir shawl on Caucasian rugs to the evolution of Azerbaijan embroidery and rugs, and the classification of Caucasian carpets. Several speakers focussed on museum holdings worldwide; Anna Beselin, textile conservator at the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin, told the exciting story of the reunion and conservation of two shield carpet fragments. Upcoming issues of HALI magazine will feature articles based on a number of the lectures.
HALI Chairman Michael Franses delivered a keynote address, and had the honour of presenting Stars of the Caucasus: Silk Embroideries from Azerbaijan, the first comprehensive scholarly survey of these Caucasian textiles, to Abulfas Garayev, the Minister of Culture & Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The book, produced by Hali Publications, is available for pre-order by emailing email@example.com.
Finally, both the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum and Azerbaijan National Museum of Art (ANMA) had arranged special events for ISAC 2017. At ANMA, the exhibition ‘Silk Treasures’, curated by Asli Samadova and Alberto Boralevi and accompanying Stars of the Caucasus, showcased the splendour of these textiles. The embroideries from ANMA, recently rediscovered and restored, were complemented by important international loans from the V&A and private collections. At the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum, the permanent collections of rugs shone alongside the temporary exhibitions ‘Flying Carpet’ and ‘Contemporary Art in Carpets’, both interlinking contemporary art and the art of rug making.