Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type




Director of Thesis

Dr. Elena Osokina

Second Reader

Dr. Lydia Brandt


The Azerbaijani carpet industry, long recognized as an important piece of Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage, transformed dramatically between the mid-nineteenth and twentieth centuries in response to political, economic, and social changes that took place under the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. During this period, the carpet industry began to use modern weaving techniques and materials, favored factory production over traditional hand-woven designs, and created pieces for exportation rather than personal or community use. These developments contribute to two historical schools that view the Soviet Union as either a prison of nations, stifling non-Russian cultures, or a nursery of ethnic identities, supporting these emerging groups. In addition to an array of articles and books on Azerbaijani history, art, and culture, selected Azerbaijani carpets provide visual evidence and context for readers who may be unfamiliar with the motifs and designs discussed here. Given the substantial number of sources not translated to English, there is potential for additional research on this topic in the future.

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