Armenian Carpet Weaving

Armenian carpet weaving has been practiced since the 5th century in both homes and commercial enterprises. Political and cultural shifts like the  Armenian Genocide (1915-1923) have affected the Armenian tradition. During that time, the  Ottoman Empire systematically killed 1.5 million Armenians. As Armenians fled the danger, they created  diaspora communities around the world, including in Utah.

Armenian Heritage Sampler

Armenian Heritage Sampler, Diane Moffat, 2015

Armenian Heritage Sampler Rug, Detail

Armenian Heritage Sampler Rug Detail, Diane Moffat, 2015

Diane learned carpet weaving as she assisted her grandfather and father at the annual Living Traditions Festival in Salt Lake City.

The design is based on a family pattern, passed down from Zadik Aposhian, who immigrated to Utah from Turkey in 1909.

Diane’s father, George, altered the pattern to include a pink pomegranate  motif along the border. Diane further modified the pattern so that the pomegranate motif appears in each corner. The other floral elements symbolize the Aposhian family’s heritage as gardeners and orchard keepers.

Diane made this carpet “in tribute to these three men who were each models of reverence for tradition balanced with creative innovation.” Diane continues to weave on a  loom that her father made. She is now teaching her granddaughter, Julia Moffat, the traditional techniques.

Carpet Weaving

Detail of Pile Carpet in Process, 2007

Traditional Carpet Weaving By Hand

Woman Weaving a Pile Carpet on a Loom, 2014

Armenian carpets consist of an upper layer of pile attached to a backing. The wool pile is created by twisted tufts which are knotted to the backing. Since ancient times, these carpets have been used to cover floors, decorate interior walls, sofas, chairs, beds, and tables. They were also used in sacred places as entrance veils and altar decorations. While Armenian carpet weavers believe in strictly preserving the traditional techniques, each generation introduces new varieties of color, design and symbolic elements. Historically, the carpets told religious stories. Today, they represent a wealth of cultural and familial stories.

Map of Modern-Day United Armenia

Present Day United Armenia 

Vocabulary Words: 
  • Armenian Genocide: The Armenian Genocide (also known as the Armenian Holocaust) was the systematic mass extermination and expulsion of 1.5 million ethnic Armenian within the Ottoman Empire (most of whom were citizens) by the Ottoman Government from approximately 1914 to 1923 (Wikipedia).
  • Ottoman Empire: An empire created by Turkish tribes that grew to be one of the most powerful states in the world during the 15th and 16th century. Spanning over 600 years, it's ruling encompassed most of Southeastern Europe, including Vienna, Hungary, The Balkan region, Greece, and portions of Ukraine, the Middle east, Northern Africa, and the Arabian Peninsuala. The Turkish Republic and other European and Middle Eastern states replaced the Ottoman empire in 1923 at the end of the Armenian Genocide (Encyclopedia Britannica)
  • Disapora: the dispersion of any people from their original homeland.
  • Motif: a distinctive feature or dominant idea in an artistic or literary composition.
  • Loom: The frame (typically made of wood) which a weaver uses to pull their warp tightly, and weave the weft through until the product is completed.
  • Backing: a layer of fabric put on the back of a carpet pile to provide strength and structure for the carpet.
Armenian Carpets