The manufacture of carpets is one of the traditional, ancient kinds of decorative applied arts of Azerbaijan. Historian Ronald Suny from USA states that the production of carpets is one of the old Azerbaijani crafts which reached its boom in the Middle Ages, making Azerbaijani carpets famous in the countries of Asia and Europe. In the collections of major museums in the world unique Azerbaijani carpets are stored, depictions of which can be seen in paintings of the European Renaissance.
From the 16th century, simultaneously with the emergence of the state Safavids, the art of Azerbaijani carpet weaving achieved its excellence and took on the character of industrial production. Painters – miniaturists, calligraphers of the time greatly contributed to the formation of the Azerbaijani school of ornamental art. Large carpet weaving workshops operated in large cities, where several hundred weavers wove carpets. After North Azerbaijan became part of the Russian Empire, carpet manufacturing increased. In 1843 alone, 18 thousand Azerbaijani carpets were made. In 1850, Azerbaijani carpets began to be exhibited at international exhibitions. Encyclopaedia Iranica “(Caucasian Carpets) States: “The expansion of the Russian Empire in the late 19th century opened the Caucasus to the West and that transformed the modest local carpet weaving industry into a major export item. The main carpet weaving area was located in the eastern Caucasus, south of the mountains that diagonally cross this region; this area is the home of the Turkic population, now known as Azeris.”
Historian J. P. R. Ford wrote: “Although carpets are made now in Dagestan, Georgia and Armenia, the home of the Caucasian carpets is still Azerbaijan, and the skills and ideas of Azerbaijani weavers are felt throughout the Caucasus.” Russian explorer M.D. Isayev observed that at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, weaving of carpets was mainly concentrated in Azerbaijan. According to Soviet art theorist M.V. Babenchikov “Azerbaijani masters were always highly valued in other countries as skilled carpet weavers.”
Today, in many regions of Azerbaijan, weaving of carpets is developing successfully; in Azerbaijan alone there are more than 20 large and medium-sized processing plants weaving carpets.
Among the Azerbaijani carpets stand-out carpets of Baku, Ganja, Gazakh, Shirvan, Shamakhy, Karabakh, Quba, Ardebil and Tabriz.
In 2010, the “traditional art of Azerbaijani carpet weaving” was inscribed in the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO.