In conjunction with the seventh Henry D. Green Symposium of the Decorative Arts, the Georgia Museum of Art will feature the exhibition Rugs of the Caucasus from Jan. 30 to April 27.
Organized by Dale Couch, curator of decorative arts at the museum, and UGA professor emeritus of finance James Verbrugge, the 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 tells a unique 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 lets the viewer explore the way designs changed over time.
“The power of this collection lies not just in the early dates of rugs or design quality, but also their superb condition,” Couch said. “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.”
The rugs are, according to Couch, 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 also has produced a small catalog with an essay by Verbrugge and both entries on and full-color images of all the rugs in the exhibition. The catalog will be available for purchase in the Museum Shop.
Events associated with Rugs of the Caucasus 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 open free to the public.