The Russian Museum of Ethnography recently held an exhibition on Armenian traditional culture. The exhibition titled “The World of Traditional Armenian Culture“ featured never before seen objects characteristic of the most widespread occupations and crafts among the Armenians: weaponry, jewelry, carpets, musical instruments, lace works and embroidery. Regarding Armenian craftsmanship the museum’s website states:
“…Armenian people achieved general recognition as creators and keepers of multifaceted cultural tradition. The study of their traditional culture became one of main subjects of the Ethnographic Department of the Alexander III Russian Museum (now the Russian Museum of Ethnography).
The production of Armenian armourers (daggers, sabres, shashkas) was famous in all the Caucasus and beyond its borders. The craftsmen from Tiflis (Tbilisi), Akhaltsikhe, Alexandropol, Karin and Van were commonly renowned. Depending on fashion Armenian armourers applied various techniques.
Jewellery art was one of the spectacular sides of Armenian culture. Different specific techniques of jewellery crafting and decoration developed in various Armenian regions.
Carpet making is one of the oldest Armenian crafts. Carpets covered ottomans and floors, hung on walls and niches. The carpets from Tavush, Sunic-Artsakh, Khaberda and Van were particularly famous. They could be woolen, silk or made of combination of these materials. On the one hand the ornament of each carpet was restricted by conventional rules; on the other hand it was unique work of art in which carpet-maker expressed her view of harmony and beauty.”
The museum holds over 3000 unique artifacts of Armenian culture, which have been saved at the time of the Armenian Genocide during a Scientific Expedition in 1916 led by Alexander Miller. In honor of this occasion the Russian Museum in collaboration with the Geneva-based Armenian Jewelers Foundation Published a book titled “Treasures of Western Armenia“, which displays the artifacts housed at the Russian Museum of Ethnography. Unfortunately there are not many photo’s released on the internet, and people will have to buy the book to admire these antique artifacts.
Armenian folk art can also be admired at museums in France, the US (at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts) and countless other places. See bellow some of the artifacts on display at these museums.