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It wasn’t that long ago that rug experts acknowledged that the “funny writing” on some oriental rugs was Armenian. However, most rug experts maintained that those rugs were not made by Armenians but were commissioned pieces.

Now for the first time, the Armenian Rugs Society (Est. 1980) has been invited by the ICOC International Conference on Oriental Rugs to Vienna, Austria. (Sep 15-21, 2014).  The exhibit titled “Armenian Rugs and Carpets” is a big change from the previous labeling of “Anatolian or Caucasian” for our work.

Thanks to the ARS and to two very important independent scholars for taking the history of our carpet making out of the shadows.

Volkmar Gantzhorn wrote that the “oriental carpet is neither of nomadic origin nor does its origin lie in Central Asia. It is the product of ancient oriental civilizations in the Armenian uplands.”

Art Historian, Lauren Arnold studied hundreds of Renaissance paintings and has fresh evidence that the depicted carpets (before 1500) were not of Muslim manufacture but of eastern Christian origin.

Exciting work in carpet making is being done in Armenia now under the tutelage of James Tufenkian a designer, entrepreneur and humanitarian. In 1993, Tufenkian established a carpet industry using Armenian wool thus restoring a centuries-old craft to a recovering nation.


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