Treasury of Carpet Masterpieces of the Peoples of Eurasia

The exhibition features the masterpieces of folk carpet making from the unique collection of the Russian Museum of Ethnology. Today the knotted and flat woven carpets in the Russian Museum of Ethnography number about 3000 items, most of them are kept in a specially equipped Carpet Treasury. It is one of the largest in the world and probably the most complete carpet collection of the peoples of Eurasia who from the eighteen century to the early twentieth century were part of the Russian Empire. Russian and foreign specialists hold opinion that without examining the RME carpet collection no work about Eurasian carpets can be considered complete. The experience is not limited to experts.  A lot of visitors attend temporary and permanent exhibitions and have an opportunity to see these stunningly beautiful and colorful pieces, created by the hands of unknown weavers of the past. The exhibition includes the following 3 sections: carpet making among the peoples of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.

The art of carpet-making emerged in the cities of Ancient East and on the spaces of Great Steppe millennia ago. Today the term “carpet” is usually applied to rectangular cloth fabric, made in the knotted technique, which are used to cover the floor or less frequently hung on the walls in the East and Europe. It was thanks to carpets and felts that people could populate cold steppes, deserts and highlands of Eurasia. Carpets were flexible, light weight, resistant to water and moisture. They were indispensable companions for warriors and herdsmen, merchants from trade caravans, and pilgrims to Buddhist, Christian and Muslim sanctuaries. However, flat woven pieces with the same functions, door and wall curtains, bags of various forms, which nomadic cattle-breeders used to keep their  utensils and other belongings, carpet-aprons for sledges, typical of Russian and Finnish traditions, prayer rugs wide-spread among Muslims, etc., are also included in this category.

In the cities and villages of the East, where people eat, sleep and often work on the ground, carpets have been and remain up to now an inseparable element of house furnishing. Carpets were sold in shops of oriental markets, served as valuable gifts at diplomatic exchanges, and there were offerings to churches and mosques. Along with their utilitarian importance, carpets have esthetic, ritual, magic and cognitive functions. They are often the main decoration any of interior, and they are emblems of the most important events in individual’s life like birth, wedding and funerals. The designs of traditional carpets contain ancient symbols of earth, water, and fertility. They also include protective and magic signs, sometimes tribal emblems. The main centers of carpet trade between Europe and Asia were the markets of Istanbul, Tiflis, Bukhara, and Orenburg.

Exhibition area - 350-450 square meters,

Number of objects is about 30-35