Armenian Highland is one of the ancient carpet weaving centers. The Armenian carpet has had different names throughout its history. The word “carpet” can be found in Armenian literature as far back as the 5th century AD, in the translation of the Holy Bible. The word “carpet” has always been synonymous with the word “rug”. Another notable name is “khali” or “ghali”, which comes from the Arabic name Karin (Kalikala), the city that was famous for its carpet weaving art.
Armenian rugs had harmonic colors of red, white, blue, green, yellow and their variants. The yellow color came from the yellow flower, the red color from Armenian cochineal (vordan karmir) and from the roots of dyer’s madder (rubia tinctorm), green and some shades of brown from nut peels. For black, they used pomegranate peels. For blue, they used the method of mixing different colors, but more often than blue they used indigo from a famous colorant that was imported from India. In the Middle Ages, Armenian carpets were very famous for their shades made of vordan karmir, for which reason they were also called “red rugs” during the Arabic period. One of the characteristics of Armenian rugs is the «Balbas» sheep wool that was used as a raw material. Anchorian goat wool was also widely used. In the regions where the cotton and silk cultivation was developed they used also silk and cotton.
The most characteristic features of Armenian rugs are their ornaments. Armenian rugs had a lot of ritual, image and ideal ornaments. The ornaments used in Armenian carpets were also widely used in sculpture, miniature painting, architecture and silverware.