Arts Society & Culture

Georgia Museum of Art to display pre-1850 rugs of the Caucasus

GMOA Rug Sewan Kazak-v
This Sewan Kazak rug is from the West Caucasus in Armenia. It dates back to the 19th century.

Athens, Ga. – In conjunction with the seventh Henry D. Green Symposium of the Decorative Arts, the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia will feature the exhibition “Rugs of the Caucasus” Jan. 30 to April 27.

This exhibition focuses on the distinctive style of rugs from the Caucasus, an area that includes contemporary Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Each rug can be identified as originating from a specific area of the region. These regions each had specific styles and designs for their rugs that conveyed their creators’ surroundings, lives and religion. From images of crosses that may reflect Christian origins to Islamic patterns, the variety of patterns helps depict the story of the war-torn region

The exhibition features mostly rugs created during the 19th century, with a few rare examples of rugs that date before 1850. The variety of the rugs shows how rug designs changed over time.

“Rugs of the Caucasus” was organized by Dale Couch, curator of decorative arts at the museum, and James Verbrugge, UGA professor emeritus of finance.

“The power of this collection lies not just in the early dates of rugs or design quality, but also their superb condition,” said Couch. “Old clay slip rugs, worn to a frazzle, faded in color-and beautiful even in that condition, are a stock experience of American estate sales.”

Couch explains that the rugs are an example of “Armenian wear,” meaning they were used gently and treated without all of the harsh conditions of “Western wear.”

“The condition of these rugs revises American notions about what they truly look like,” he said.

The museum has also produced a small catalogue, with an essay by Verbrugge and both entries on and full-color images of all the rugs in the exhibition, that will be for sale in the Museum Shop. Associated events include an opening reception on Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. and a tour on Feb. 19 at 2 p.m., both of which are free and open to the public.

Museum Information
Partial support for the exhibitions and programs at the Georgia Museum of Art is provided by the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art. Individuals, foundations and corporations provide additional museum support through their gifts to the University of Georgia Foundation. The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the Performing and Visual Art Complex on the East Campus of the University of Georgia. The address is 90 Carlton St., University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602- 6719. For more information, including hours, see http://georgiamuseum.org or call 706-542-4662.