Azeris launch campaign claiming Armenian carpets as their own

The Armenian Rugs Society, a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and advancing Armenia’s ancient rug culture, this week issued an announcement, in which it sounds the alarm on Azerbaijani efforts—campaign—to claim ancient Armenian textiles and woven carpets as their own. Below is the text of the announcement, Asbarez reports.

Official Azerbaijan, in collusion with members of the private sector close to the Azeri regime, has launched a campaign geared towards appropriating ancient Armenian carpet, rug, and textile weaving traditions and production as their own by generating articles in local and international news outlets, sponsoring exhibits, and publishing art books that portray Armenian woven arts and history, as their own.

Several Azeri news sources (Sputnik Azerbaijan, World Economics Magazine: Azerbaijan Journal of Economics, Finance and Business), supported and abetted by the Azeri government—a notorious human rights violator–have recently published articles erroneously claiming that what are clearly Armenian carpets and rugs of global renown, from a variety of historic Armenian regions, including the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), respectively, are Azeri cultural artifacts and traditions, the Armenian Rugs Society said.

“These salacious contentions are, of course, diametrically opposed to decades of work produced by countless academics, experts, and specialists from around the world, regarding the provenance of the artifacts and the millennial traditions of Armenian artisans and craftspeople, as well as their vast influence on other cultures,” the organization said.

“This unabashed falsification of history and cultural capital is the latest in a long line of smear campaigns and propaganda that not only strike at the heart and soul of Armenian cultural identity, but is a harsh blow to the international arts community and to woven arts scholarship in general, putting in serious danger whole academic disciplines and bodies of work,” it added.

“Sadly, the Azeri and Turkish states have long engaged in heinous policies and actions targeting Armenians and Armenian culture. The early part of the last century saw the wholesale slaughter and deportation of Armenians from the Armenian Highlands, and, then, the wholesale destruction of Armenian architectural sites, cultural artifacts, archeological treasures, and myriad other cultural properties, across once vibrant historic Armenia, filled-out the rest of the century,” the Armenian Rugs Society said.

It added that “the Turkish and Azeri states have not only engaged in genocide, but continue to attempt to strip the survivors of genocide, and their progeny, of any and all cultural meaning, memory, and motifs that have somehow survived and, indeed, form the fundament of Armenian cultural identity.”

“To leave the victims of genocide bereft of all meaning, tradition, and identity, to which they cling so dearly, is to deny their very existence and is the final and most horrendous stage of genocide. This concerted effort to usurp, appropriate, and distort Armenian cultural traditions and production, and its dire consequences to international arts scholarship, must be stopped immediately,” the organization added.

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