People say: "spread your carpet out and I shall tell you what kind of person you are ”. And you make sure of this popular wisdom when you see the unique works of modest carpet-makers from the distant mountain Lezghin and Tabasaran auks. Complicated and fine patters of the ornament, original gamut of colors are achieved with the help of the ordinary crochet hook and natural dye-stuffs from the grey clover roots, walnut, pear and apple-trees bark.
The carpet art has been formed in Dagestan during many centuries. Its origin and improvement were the result of fast development of contacts. According to ancient Greek historians, in the 5-century ВС , the population of West Coast of the Caspian Sea was occupied in making of multi со lord woolen fabrics. They colored fabrics with natural dyestuffs, which were made of plants, growing in the republic.
Oriental pattern was widespread in many regions and villages of Dagestan. Almost each nation of those who live in Dagestan has its favorites type of carpet. The local masters, especially women produced not only carpets and rugs, but also different knitted woolen goods, such as pillows, decorative mates, bags, curtains, socks and stockings, knitted boots and shoes.
Decorative embroidery was also a typical occupation in many villages of Dagestan. Today Dagestan is famous for its pile carpets, which are recognized not only at home, but also outside of it. They are produced in Lezghin, Tabasaran and Rutul regions and in Derbent.
Pile carpets, which are made there, are known under the name «Daghestan» or «Derbent». They are widely known in our country and are exported to a number of foreign countries, including England, Germany and the U.S.A. Lezghins also make carpets without pile, known as «sumakh» which are used as a rule, for a floor. They are big, as one «sumakh» should cover a floor of the whole room.
The average time period of an exploitation of the carpets is about 250-300 years. Daghestan hand-made carpets have national character, are very much valued as family relic and treasure. They are firm, durable and heavy inimitable color, composition and design. Carpets as the works of eternally young and unique art have preserved the traditions and technology of the old past till today. They are widely used to decorate the interior of the houses and social places, they well harmonize with any furniture.
The main design on the Daghestan carpets consists of geometric ornament symbolizing silhouettes of animals, birds and vegetation of the surrounding life and nature with typical combination of warm and cold contoured colors giving the design expressiveness and delicacy. They produce carpets without a pile and the ones with embossed images. The unique nature of the carpets require good qualification, exquisite taste, individual skill, great patience and hard work and assiduity, because they are made in sedentary posture.
Many experienced masters can perform their work without a technical scheme of design having it in their memory. A good carpet-maker very keenly, hardly touching the threads of yarn can perform about 7-8 thousand knots a day, spending only 2 seconds on each. Depending on use each carpet has its own structure, design and coloring
Daghestan carpets are exhibited in the museum of New York, Paris, Montreal, Osaka, Milan, Tokyo, Izmir and many other places. In there quality Daghestan carpets are not worse than the best world samples. They are constantly exhibited at international and home fairs and shows and were awarded honor diplomas and gold medals at the international exhibition in Brussels (Belgium, 1958), Leipzig exhibition-fair (Germany, 1967). The carpets are included in the world catalogue under the names «Tabasaran», «Derbent», «Akhty», «Mikrakh». From ending of August to the beginning of September in 2000 year in Russian Exhibition Centre has passed Russian Festival of economic and cultural cooperation "Moscow and Russian regions 2000".