The examples of ancient folk art are applied in modern times too. They have reached our time polishing throughout centuries. One of them is decorative-applied art. Decorative-applied art has different kinds. One of these kinds is embroidery art. The art of embroidery which appeared in ancient times reflects the national-spiritual and aesthetic thoughts of people as other handicrafts.
Azerbaijani embroideries were prepared with high technical and artistic peculiarities in Tabriz, Shamakhi, Ganja, Shusha and Guba cities in different periods. Colored silk threads were used in embroidery art. The embroidery was mainly based on rose, poppy, lily, pomegranate, quince, spike, different shaped leaves, golden and silver fringes, peacock, dove and other motives.
Sources show that our embroidery has not lost their artistic characteristics from the early Middle Ages and has become one of the most popular folk art types. The French writer Alexandre Dumas who visited Caucasia in the 50s of the XIX century admired Azerbaijani embroidery and said: “I bought 2 saddles with artistic embroidery which cost 24 manats. I would not buy them 200 francs in France. To be honest, we can not find it at this price …”
The art of embroidery was widely spread in Nakhchivan since the Middle Ages. In Nakhchivan, the masters involved in the art of embroidery created different types of embroidery art by using colorful silk and woolen thread, sequins based on geometrical and ornamental patterns.
Azerbaijani embroidery has several types: takalduz, gulabatin (gold or silver thread), beady fancy work, gurama, plain, with sequins, oturtma and so on. Gold thread embroidery technique which included in the techniques of artistic embroidery in XVI-XVII centuries was widely spread in Nakhchivan as in other regions of Azerbaijan. This embroidery sample is distinguished for its rich appearance and magnificent design. Gulabatin was used as a pattern decoration on arkhaligs, skull-caps, watches, comb bags, women’s clothing and other household items. Colorful threads were used for this embroidery method and working with them required special craftsmanship.
Gulabatin embroidery has several techniques. Filled embroidery was widely spread in the autonomous republic. Plain and salient filled techniques were seen on national clothes, dresses of Nakhchivan women and skull-cups. Pillows, comb bags, prayer rugs, clothes and other items included in dowry of each engaged girl were decorated with gulabatin embroidery technique.
Today, Nakhchivan with its ancient and rich history is one of the regions of Azerbaijan that preserves national-spiritual values, promotes folklore. One of the regions of the autonomous republic that is developing different fields of folklore is Julfa. We talked with Aida Ibrahimova, artistic director of the “Gulustan” culture house operating in the region. In addition to decorative-applied art, she has also been engaging in artistic embroidery from her childhood. Her handmade works are not only made of embroidery, but also with different types of knitting products and other decorative-applied art. She says that for the restoration and promotion of gulabatin embroideries which have been spread in Nakhchivan territory since ancient times, they also apply gulabatin and takalduz embroiders belonging to Sheki region.
Aida khanim also emphasized that preserving embroidery art which is one of the types of decorative and applied art is of great importance to protect our national-spiritual values. She says: “If we look at previous periods, we will see that the handicrafts of our national values were forgotten”. Even knitted products remained in the boxes in houses. The state care has opened up opportunity to develop this field as other examples of folklore.
The handmade works prepared at Julfa Region “Gulustan” culture house, including Julfa Region Children’s Creativity Center are demonstrated at celebrations related to Novruz holiday in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, even in other events out of the autonomous republic. All of these attract tourists’ attention coming to the autonomous republic.
It should be noted that one of the branches of exhibition-sale stores of handicrafts in Nakhchivan city is located in Julfa region. In addition to exhibiting handicrafts here, their sale is also organized.
The circles have been established at cultural institutions of Julfa region and Children’s Creativity Center to learn the ancient embroidery, knitting products of Azerbaijan. The aim is to preserve our national-spiritual values, to increase the interest to this art.
Aida khanim also mentioned that she is planning to publish a book containing the ethnographic information related to decorative-applied art samples collected from the regions of the autonomous republic.
To teach children decorative-applied art samples including artistic embroidery art is one of the important tasks from the standpoint protecting and preserving our national-spiritual values.
The Decree of the Chairman of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Mr. Vasif Talibov “On holding Folk days in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic” dated February 7, 2009 is the brilliant expression of state care protecting, promoting national values in the autonomous republic. Such events play an important role in returning our folklore samples, national traditions, ancient art to our nation.