Home Carving


Gümüş nimçə, III-VII əsr
Silver tray, III-VII centuries

Azerbaijani folk art has very ancient and rich traditions.

Nakhchivan, Mingachevir, Gadabay, Gazakh, Ganja and others. The age of the metal works of art is about 5,000 years. The pottery, weapons and ornaments found in this area are not only a historical fact, but also a valuable source of information about the mastery of the artist who created it.

After the discovery of copper in Azerbaijan during the Eneolithic period, the metal began to play a prominent role in the economic, social, and cultural life of primitive community society. In this case, the discovery of lead, tin, manganese metals is associated with the beginning of a new and progressive period in the history of Azerbaijan, the Bronze Age.

Material and cultural samples found during excavations in the territory of Azerbaijan show that our ancestors made delicate bronze vessels, daggers, axes, belts, etc. in the 2nd millennium BC. They made jewelry and used it in their life and household.

Mis qab
Copper bowl

During this period, bronze products were largely unadorned, despite their precise workmanship and sometimes very original shapes. Among the monuments, with its original form and precise design, we can see a two-headed bronze deer figure found in the village of Dolanlar in Karabakh. Since metal was used in ancient times to create works of art that were mainly religious in nature, it is likely that the deer as a whole was a totem worshiped by the people living in the area.

Among our ancient monuments made of bronze, belts are one of the most remarkable works in terms of their art and craftsmanship. Karabakh, Gazakh, Gadabay and others. These zoomorphic paintings and patterns on these bronze belts, taken from different places, fascinate people.

Among the works of art made of metal, there are those that we can get acquainted with the traditions, religious beliefs and clothing of the people of that time with the decorations and images on them. Among such works of art were found in Mingachevir in BC. Bronze rings with seals on the head of the VIII-VII centuries are especially noteworthy. The images of a lion-fighting man, a spear and shield warrior, and a fire-worshiper on these seals give us an idea of ​​the clothing and customs of the time.

Qızıl düymə. XIX əsr
Gold button. XIX century

Interestingly, the same clothing, weapons, and household items described here are found in the information given by the Greek scholar Strabo (63-19 BC) about the people of the Caucasus. At that time, metal processing in South Azerbaijan reached a higher level.

This development was reflected in the examples of jewelry found during archeological excavations in South Azerbaijan.

Hasanli, Garatepe, Ziviya, etc., located around Lake Urmia, about 70 km from the city of Tabriz. Rare works of art found in the area are not only important materials that can shed light on the history and art of ancient Azerbaijan, but also a very valuable document that can clarify the problems of the development of ancient Near and Middle Eastern culture.

Xəncər. XIX əsr
Dagger. XIX century

Among the art monuments displayed at the Archaeological Museum in Tehran, the golden glass found on Hasanli Hill is especially noteworthy. The paintings on the glass are arranged in two rows in some places and in three rows in some places, covering the whole thing from head to toe. The American archaeologist Robert Dyson, who found the golden glass, based its findings on the pottery around the year BC. It is said to have originated in the IX-VIII centuries.

The interaction of Azerbaijani culture with neighboring countries during this period dates back to the Ziviya district around Lake Urmia. The golden breastplate of the VIII-VII centuries also visually confirms this. The chest is decorated with paintings. The figures of a lion, a ram, a dog, a rabbit, and a winged lion with a human body on their head are engraved here.

Among the vivid images on the golden breast, the figures with human heads and lion bodies are especially noteworthy. With their general appearance, composition and workmanship, they are reminiscent of the animals known in history as “Shedu”, placed at the entrance to the palace of Sargon II in ancient Assyria. It should be noted that these statues were also built in BC. It was created in VIII-VII centuries. All this once again shows the development of Azerbaijani culture.

One of the richest periods in the history of Azerbaijani folk arts is the Middle Ages. Among the household items created during this period, the dishes found during archeological excavations in Mingachevir and currently on display at the Azerbaijan History Museum in Baku are particularly interesting. Inside these dishes, a silver tray always attracts the attention of the audience with its delicate patterns and beautiful shape. One of the main conditions that enlivens the tray is the continuous convex lines on it. Like a bas-relief, they create light and shadow, and thus make the whole thing artistic. The very elegant aftafa belonging to that period, which is also displayed in the Museum of History of Azerbaijan, is also decorated in this style.

Çaxmaqlı pistolet və barıt qabı. XVIII əsr
Lightning pistol and gunpowder. XVIII century

Among the household items that remain true to our national traditions is a bronze set found in Dagestan and now housed in the Hermitage of St. Petersburg. The paintings of flowers, twigs and twigs engraved on the collection and their general composition belong to the VI-VII centuries due to their stylistic features. The floral ornament motifs given on the big medallion in the middle of the collection are especially noteworthy.

In these centuries, Azerbaijani artisans made metal not only household items, but also delicate jewelry.

In Mil plain, Gabala, Mingachevir, Nakhchivan and others. gold, silver belt parts, rings, bracelets, etc. obtained during excavations. Things show that jewelry was still at a high level in Azerbaijan until the early Middle Ages. In the most complex technical methods of jewelry: netting, printing, pen work, etc. These decorated works of art are distinguished by their original forms and elegant design.

It is interesting to note that the decorative elements found on the jewelry of this century, such as the crescent, the five-pointed star, etc. The motifs have survived to the present day and are being developed by our modern artists.

In the XI-XV centuries, the Azerbaijani metal art passed a high stage of development. During this period, various types of metal weapons, various shapes of household equipment, etc. Art samples have been prepared, many of which have survived to the present day. As in previous times, Ganja, Shamakhi, Nakhchivan and Tabriz were among the centers for the production of metal products. Archaeological excavations show that in the XII century and relatively later, the city of Baku occupied one of the prominent places in this area.

Çaxmaqlı tapança yağlayıcı ilə. XIX əsr
With lighter pistol lubricant. XIX century

One of the most striking examples of metal craftsmanship during this period is the 1206 bronze Shirvan pipe kept in the State Hermitage of St. Petersburg. At first glance, it is difficult to determine whether it is an ordinary water tank. Because the pot consists of small animal statues. The composition is created in a stylized format. The surface of the bronze pipe is decorated with silver in the method of drawing and painting. Among the ornamental decorations of the Shirvan pipe there are inscriptions, which are a valuable historical source. In one of the inscriptions, the name of the artist who created this beautiful work of art is engraved “Ali Muhammad oglu”.

Among the works of art created during this period, metal products are also noteworthy. These samples were mainly obtained during archeological excavations in the Shirvanshahs Palace reserve in Icheri Sheher. Among these metal samples, a bronze artistic lamp is especially noteworthy.

The lamp is decorated with various types of reliefs from head to toe. It depicts a real horse, two bulls, fourteen cat heads and two human faces.

Balta. XVIII əsr
Balta. XVIII century

We can also refer to the bronze barbecue of the XIII-XIV centuries found in Guba region to the monuments connected with the territory of Shirvan. Height 30 cm, circumference 131 cm, diameter 41 cm, hemispherical in shape, this bronze barbecue attracts attention with its original shape and ornamental ornaments. The inscriptions on the grill indicate that it was made by the coppersmith Ahmad Muhammad oglu. The cities of Beylagan, Ganja, Nakhchivan and Tabriz in Azerbaijan are also important centers in the field of metallurgy. Archaeological excavations at these sites confirm this. Of particular interest are the bronze human and bird figures found in Beylagan (Oren-Gala) and the bronze aquarius made in 1190 by Osman Salman oglu Nakhchivani, now housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

It is clear from the monuments of art that most of the metal products used in life and household in these centuries were made of bronze.

In the XIV-XV centuries, the city of Tabriz occupies one of the prominent places in the field of artistic metal crafts. Marco Polo, a famous Venetian traveler who came to Azerbaijan in the second half of the 13th century, talks about the greatness of the city of Tabriz and its position in the development of various crafts. Today, many of the world’s leading museums display many original examples of metallic art created in Tabriz in these centuries. Of particular note are the art casket made by Yusuf ibn Ahmad Tabrizi in 1319, which is now on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the bronze coin kept in the St. Petersburg State Hermitage.

Kəmər. Gümüş. XIX əsr
Belt. Silver. XIX century

Among the works of art of this period, which reflect the national traditions, the most striking monument is the tiyan, built in 1399 in Tabriz by Abdul Aziz Sharafaddin oglu. Weighing 2,000 kg and with a diameter of about 2.45 cm, this giant tiyan is one of the largest tiyans made in the Eastern world. Tiya’s fame is not only in her unparalleled size, but also in her artistic design. Tiyan is decorated with beautiful circular floral patterns on the face. Among the patterns, it is noted that this tiyan was made for the Khoja Ahmad Yasavi mosque in 1399 by the artist Abdul Sharafaddin oglu in Tabriz by the order of Teymurlang. In addition, the words “God is the ruler of the world” are repeated here 22 times in a row.

Along with Tabriz, there are many factual examples of the development of artistic metal crafts in this period and later in other cities of Azerbaijan. Today, Mr. Harari’s personal collection in the United States contains a very original 15th-century bronze. According to the notes on this device used in astronomy, it was made in 1468 by the famous Shirvan master Shukrullah Muhis. This istirlab is not only a highly technical device of its time, but also attracts attention with its ornaments.

Dörddüymə sırğa. Qızıl. XIX əsr
Four-button earrings. Gold. XIX century

In the 16th and 17th centuries, metal furniture, weapons and ornaments were especially popular in Tabriz, Ardabil, Maragha, Nakhchivan, Ganja, Shamakhi and Baku. During this period, weapons (daggers, swords, knives, shields) and armor (headgear, elbows, knees, etc.) made by Azerbaijani artists abroad became especially popular.

In Russian sources, we often come across the names of weapons made in Shamakhi in these centuries. One of such sources mentions Russian Tsar Boris Godunov’s decorated armored helmets made by 8 Shamakhi artists.

It is not in vain that Azerbaijani weapons became so popular during this period. Local craftsmen have now invented many innovations in the development of traditional weapons.
Instead of the straight and wide swords that were common in the 15th century, gold, silver, and precious bone-supported swords, similar to curved crescents, are now becoming more common.

The design of shields and armor was also much richer and more luxurious than in previous periods.

A 14th-century shield now housed in the Kremlin’s arms chamber is particularly noteworthy. This shield, which has unparalleled beauty, is said to have been one of the weapons that Russian Tsar MF Romanov defended himself during the war. Later, this shield was in the hands of the famous Russian commander FI Mstislavsky, and in 1622, after his death, it was permanently given to the treasury of the Russian tsars. This shield with a diameter of 50.8 cm is made of solid red steel and decorated with gold in the style of hatamkar.

Toqqa. Gümüş. XIX əsr
Climbing. Silver. XIX century

We should also mention two interesting works of this period made in Azerbaijan. Both are headgear used by nobles during the war. One of them is currently being held in the Arms Chamber in Moscow, and the other in Istanbul. The second title states that it was composed in 1528 for Shah Tahmasib.

The first armored head is among the list of weapons brought to Russian Tsar Boris Godunov from Shamakhi for the first time. Later, this helmet was worn by Prince F. Mstislavsky as an artistic shield.

The work of art we are talking about is so ornate that it has a sword, a club and so on. It is more reminiscent of a garment embroidered than a protective suit worn to protect against a blow. The ornaments of the title also contain examples of calligraphy. They are placed with a wide belt on the front of the hood. The words “In the name of God, the Almighty, the Most Merciful” are written here.

The hood is made of polished steel, and three technical methods of artistic metal processing are skillfully used in its decoration: netting, hat-making and pen work. In the XVI-XVII centuries, jewelry is an integral part of metal art. They were mainly made of gold and bone and were used in life as ornaments for women and men.

In general, gold and silver ornaments made of precious metals are divided into 4 parts according to the way they are worn and worn:
1. neck decorations;
2. arm and finger ornaments;
3. head decorations;
4. Ornaments tied to clothes.

Among the examples of jewelry made in these centuries and which have survived to the present day, there are two works. One of them is a silver necklace with a pattern in the shape of almonds and pomegranate seeds, which was discovered during excavations in Gadabay region together with Safavid coins, and the other is a gold belt of Shah Ismail I in 1507.

Shah Ismail’s gold belt is especially interesting. Currently kept in the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, this belt is one of the richest and most decorated examples of men’s belts. The floral ornamental patterns adorning the belt are reminiscent of the ornaments found in carpets, fabrics and non-art samples of the time. The most beautiful part of the belt is its buckle. This buckle, which is in the shape of a circle, depicts a noble young man hunting on horseback and a guide watching him.
The images inside the buckle are reminiscent of some plots in the miniature art of the period, both in general composition and with separate motifs.

Sırğa. Gümüş. XX əsr
Earrings. Silver. XX century

In the 18th century, coppersmithing was most developed in Azerbaijan. Foreign travelers note that in the centuries of Tabriz, Ganja, Sheki, Shusha, Shamakhi, Baku there was a special coppersmithing street, where copper-decorated, original-shaped utensils were made.
In these centuries, there were places in Azerbaijan where not only one or two streets, but even the majority of the population were engaged in the art of coppersmithing. One of such centers was Lahij, which was part of Shamakhi khanate at that time.

During these centuries, Lahij produced a large number of household items and household appliances (aquarius, satil, aftafa, sernic, tray, sarpuz, etc.). The products produced in Lahij did not lag behind the products produced in the central cities of that time in terms of both quantity and quality.

Among the metal products made in Lahij, a samovar dating back to the 18th century is especially noteworthy. The samovar attracts attention not only with the accuracy of its proportions, the beauty of its shape, but also with its ornaments. Stylized plant, zoomorphic and human images are engraved here. Most of the patterns used in the decorative design of the samovar are found in many types of Azerbaijani folk art (stone and wall ornaments, fabric, embroidery, etc.). The samovar was made of copper and decorated by Najafgulu, a resident of Lahij village, in 1130 AH (1717) during the Hijri period.

Toqqa. Gümüş. XIX əsr
Climbing. Silver. XIX century

In the 18th century, the city of Sheki was one of the prominent places in the production of metal household appliances and decorative patterns.

Sources show that in these centuries, Sheki artisans were especially famous for making ornate cast iron barbecues.

These grills are not very big. Most of them are made of 6-8 pieces of cast bronze particles hooked to each other. Along with floral and geometric ornaments, we also come across figures of birds and animals in a prominent pattern on these cast bronze particles.

Among the floral patterns, the composition “Islimi” with flowers, blossoms and leaves on the wavy line, as well as the figures of nightingales and lions facing each other take the main place. From the 18th century to the present day, many examples of jewelry art have arrived.

The most common of the ornaments used by Azerbaijani women in these centuries were neck ornaments. Of these: sinabend, throat, çeçik, cormorant, etc. can be shown.

This type of ornament was made by combining precious beads, pearls or baklava, barley-shaped gold and silver particles with each other. In many cases, another part of the neck was hung in a circular shape from the lower part to the chest to make it look good. Sometimes, instead of this ornate circle, a net, a pencil case, and so on. a 6, 8, or 12-pointed star with a ruby ​​or turquoise eyebrow in the middle would be placed on the crescent, which would complete its base.

Among the most beautiful examples of jewelry created in these centuries are two women’s hats of the same type, which are now kept in the Zagatala Museum of Local Lore. The hats we are talking about are reminiscent of a luxurious helmet at first glance.

Sırğa. Qızıl. Bakı. XIX əsr
Earrings. Gold. Baku. XIX century

The hood is made up of silver particles of different sizes and shapes artistically connected to each other by a ring. In order to prevent these ornate silver particles from appearing uniformly, circular plates decorated with stones were placed between them. They are located on the side and top of the hood. The most beautiful part of the head is a star figure with a delicate crescent tied to a tube extending above its top.

The close connection of our jewelry with the traditions of the past is especially visually confirmed by the women’s and men’s belts made during this period.

It should be noted that in general, the belt in the past was an integral part of women’s and men’s clothing. Studies show that in the past, it was possible to know the person wearing the belt and his position, wealth, religious beliefs, nationality, and even age.

In the 18th century, both men and women wore the belt in Azerbaijan. Traditionally, women wore wide belts and men wore thin belts.

In those centuries, belts were made of figured and ornate bronze, silver, or gold. The most beautiful part of them were buckles. The buckles usually consisted of a grid, a pencil case, and sometimes a wide rectangular piece of metal decorated with stones. In most cases, 23 rows of gold and silver coins or baklava, buta-shaped ornaments were tied to the lower part of the belt for women, and several straps with various shaped metal particles were attached to the lower part of the belt.

Qolbaq. Qızıl. XIX əsr
Bracelet. Gold. XIX century

One of the most widespread belts in Azerbaijan in the 18th century was the men’s belt called the “Circassian belt”. Occasionally, baklava, a circle, sometimes a face-to-face horse, a ram, black-faced, and etal figures decorated with basma were tied to such a belt.

In the 18th century, metal household items, weapons and jewelry in Azerbaijan were mainly decorated in 6 technical ways. These are: forging, stamping, blacksmithing, netting, hat-making and mining.

Forging is one of the oldest methods. It is much simpler than other technical methods of craftsmanship. Requires sharp eyes and great skill. Artists work with hammers and thin-tipped tools.

In the printing method, gold, silver and precious metal pieces of any size are placed on a high-patterned or patterned mold. Then they put a piece of lead of the same size on top of this piece of precious metal and start beating it with a wooden hammer, and thus the precious metal takes the form of any painting. The printing method is more belt, button, bracelet and so on. used to fix things.

Garasavad was mainly used on silver, because silver gives cleaner and whiter lines in black background (tone). The smoothed surface of the forged silver was painted by scratching, and then it was covered with a black product. Garasavad method was mostly used to decorate jewelry (belts, daggers, pistols, gunpowder, etc.). The network is called a picture or pattern made of thin winding wire in jewelry. Networking comes in two main ways; the first forms the base of the item with gold and silver wires, and the second decorates the item.

Kəmər. Qızıl. XIX əsr
Belt. Gold. XIX century

Khatamkarlig has a great heritage in the field of jewelry art in Azerbaijan. To decorate a dagger, a sword, or any other piece of art in this way, a small hole is drilled in the face of the object on the basis of any pattern, and then these holes are heated with gold, silver, and so on. filled with colored metal nails. When all this process is over, the surface of the body is smoothed and looks like a beautiful mosaic. One of the most difficult and interesting areas of hat-making is writing and painting with precious metals. This requires great pleasure and skill from the artist. Azerbaijani artists have shown great skill in this area as well.

Mining was one of the fields that raised the art of jewelry in Azerbaijan. One of the most difficult and interesting areas of mining is curtain mines, which were mostly developed in Tabriz, Nakhchivan and Baku.

The method of the art of mining is to fill the inside of a carved painting or pattern with colored enamel liquid (juice). To do this, they fill the gaps formed with gold, silver and non-metallic cloth (birds, animals, plants, etc.) by pressing them into the mold.

The most commonly used colors in Azerbaijani mining are light pink, green, blue, turquoise, black and red.

The works of Azerbaijani miners were more popular than the miners of other countries, because their stems would not have a mixed, cloudy color. Since each color they pour into the gaps in the picture has its own characteristics, these colors heat up and so on. separated by a wire curtain. It is fascinating that Azerbaijani mines are so colorful and that these colors are in harmony with each other.

Xəncərlər. XIX-XX əsr
Daggers. XIX-XX centuries

At the beginning of the XIX-XX centuries, 3 types of metallurgy were developed in Azerbaijan.

These were blacksmithing, coppersmithing and jewelry making. The blacksmiths mainly made agricultural tools and household items: barbecues, stoves, door handles, tongs, etc.

Copper, which has a great heritage in Azerbaijan, has a prominent place in the art of metalworking in these centuries. Depending on the nature of life and economic activities of our people, in Azerbaijan, pots, pans, serpush, passenger, sini, satil, aftafa, sahang, dolcha, etc. There was still a great need for copper vessels such as

Compared to other types of metalwork, the art of jewelry in these centuries remained more faithful to the progressive traditions of the past. Rings, earrings, bracelets, bracelets, belts, etc. worn by Azerbaijani women in the past. was still in vogue.

Enamel earrings of Baku and Shamakhi jewelers, lattice neck and chest ornaments of Ganja and Sheki masters, gold madness with stones, mirrored belts of Shusha craftsmen still fascinate people.