GENERAL INFORMATION ON AZERI CULTURE
One of the world's most ancient nations - the nation of Azerbaijan - has the right to feel proud for its history, material and cultural monuments, literature, arts and music heritage.
Wonderful nature, climate, natural resources of the country produced a significant impact on artistic thinking and creation skills of Azerbaijani people as well. In spite of a long and difficult way undergone by different types of arts in Azerbaijan, they still represent a unity and provide outstanding opportunities for the creation of a full idea of fine arts of Azerbaijan. The folk arts of Azerbaijan are multi-colored, complete and rich, as its natural resources. The folk art is connected with daily life of people and daily life occupies a very special life in the fine arts as well. Folk arks cover a long period from ancient times to nowadays and including a variety of products from garments to housing goods and decoration.
Quite obviously, the style of life, aesthetic tastes, the national image and qualities, are strongly reflected in folk arts. One can easily come across numerous wonderful models of Azerbaijani folk arts in the world's largest museums. The pieces of arts created by the skillful hands of Tabriz, Nakhichevan, Gandja, Gazakh, Guba, Naku, Shaki, Shamakhi and Nagorny Kharabakh can be found in large museum collections of Victoria and Albert of London, Louvers of Paris, Metropoliten of Vashington and Vienna, Rome, Berlin, Istanbul, Tehran, Cairo museums.
The history of folk arts in Azerbaijan has a long and interesting history. Works of art made from metal extracted from Nakhichevan, Migachevir, Gadanay, Gandja and other places are approximately 5000 years old. Crockery, weapons and adornments found here are not historical facts alone, but valuable sources which testify the skills of the master.
Material and cultural models, found during archeological excavations in the territory of Azerbaijan, testify that our ancestors made crockery, daggers, axes, belts and adornments of bronze and used them in daily life. This proves the ancient age of such types of activity as copper-smithy and gold smithy.
There are those with portrayals, showing traditions, religious ideas and even garments of people of that epoch among art patterns made from metal. History, of ethnographical and artistic features of folk art are reflected on the garments. These features are reflected both on garments of certain form and its adornments and fine needle-work, knitting.
Bronze needles and awls from the beginning of the bronze epoch (III millennium B.C ) were found during archeological excavations in Azerbaijan as well. These findings prove that the ancient population of Azerbaijan could sue clothes for themselves. Little clay statues founded from Kultapa and Mingachevir (III millennium B.C) and seals of the V century B.C found in Mingachevir provided opportunities to have a certain idea of garments of that time. Clothing remnants sued from different silk materials are found in Mingachevir catacombs of V-VI centuries B.C. Number of adornments ( III-IV century B.C), made of gold, and clay crock of foot-gear form are well-grounded evidences, proving old high material culture of Azerbaijanis.
Different pictures, scraped on housing implements made from copper, bronze, gold and adornments, prove existence of fine art in Azerbaijan since ancient times.
Horse-cloth with flowers on clay figure of horse (II millennium B.C.), found in Maku in South Azerbaijan, golden basin with picture of line (I millennium B.C), found in Hasanli hill near the Urmiya lake, and other findings show the ancient history of carpet-making, one of the branches of folk art in Azerbaijan.
Remains of palaz (a kind of carpet without pile) and carpet of I and III centuries discovered during archeological dig in Mingachevir.
According to archeological dig and written sources Azerbaijan people has been occupying with carpet-making since bronze epoch ( late II millennium - early I millennium). Heorodot, Klavdi Elian, Ksenofont and other world historians wrote about carpet-making development in Azerbaijan.
Carpets, weaved by separate carpet-making schools of Azerbaijan (Guba, Baku, Shirvan, Gandja, Gazakh, Nagorny Karabakh, Tabriz) in different periods, amaze people till nowadays. Most of them kept in well-known museums of the world.
Gobustan rock pictures, pictures, belonged to the early of bronze epoch (III millennium B.C) in Aychingilli and Parichingil mountains near the Zalkha lake in Kalbacar region, rock pictures in the Gamigaya mountains in the north of Ordubad town have exception importance among the most old patterns of fine art. Pictures about ancient people's mode of life, welfare, labour, carved in the Gobustan rockeries, represent special interest. Different subjects, scenes on hunting, cattle breeding, planting and other branches of household, human and animal pictures were carved in dynamic way. The Gobustan rock pictures - pictograms cover multi-centuries old history from primitive communal order to feudalism.
Azerbaijan was rich of architectural pieces one of branches of folk art along with works of fine art since ancient times. Maiden tower and Shirvanshahs palace in Baku, Momina Xatun and Yusif ibn Kuseyr mausoleums, created by architect Acami in Nakhichevan, Natavan's home, pictures on walls of Shaki khan palace and other patterns are rare pearls of architecture.
Picture of people, dancing Yalli, represents special interest among the Gobustan rock pictures. This picture testify Azerbaijan people's interest in music since ancient times.
Motherland of Azerbaijan people possessed rich musical and cultural heritage is famous as Land of flames.
Azerbaijan music, enriching world musical culture with its rare pearls, has multi-centuries old traditions. Creators of folk music, handed over these traditions to generations, have great role in development of Azerbaijan music.
Folk songs, dances, ashug creation (folk poet and singer) have specific place in Azerbaijan national music.
Mugams are foundation of Azerbaijan national music. It is not accidental that UNESCO, specialized organization of UN, entered Azerbaijan mugam into the list of world cultural heritage.
Our national music has been developing along with literature since ancient times. For instance, mugam developed along with with Eastern poesy. Thus, singers, performed mugam, recited ghazals (a kind of poem) by Azerbaijan well-known poets as Nizami, Khagani, Fuzuli, Nasimi. Poetic forms of national poesy like Garayli, divani, tadjnis along with goshma, mukhammas, ustadnama, gafilband are ashugs' favor forms.
Works of art, created by classics and contemporaries, take honorable place in world cultural treasure. Works by M.F.Akhundov, N.Vazirov, M.S.Ordubadi, G.Zakir, M.A.Sabir, J.Mammadguluzade, M.P.Vagif, M.V.Vidadi and other poets and writers hasn't lost their aesthetic importance.
One of the art kinds, related with Azerbaijan literature, is theatre. The roots of Azerbaijan theatre art related with people's activity, mode of life, solemn and wedding traditions, range of vision. Elements of spectacle in rites, ceremonies and games took important role in popular theatre. It was realistic and related with working categories. Repertoire of popular theatre consisted of short spectacles of ethic content. Popular theatre played important part in establishment of Azerbaijan professional theatre.
Roots of theatre art, dated to old times, started with spectacles "Vizier of Lankaran khanate" and "Hadji Gara" by M.F.Akhundov, staged in Baku in March and April 1973.
Repertoire of Azerbaijan theatre, passed difficult way of development, has neen enriched now. Different spectacles, amazing spectators, are staged in Academic National Dramatic Theatre, Municipal Theatre, Pantomime Theatre, Theatre of Young Spectators and etc.
Cinematography, one of the most interesting and popular art kind of our time, penetrate into people's life and become integral part of it. National cinematography opens bottoms of human heart and new live horizons. It gained great experience year-by-year and created number of different works, reflecting our people's life and problems. These films were kept for future generations and became people's spiritual knowledge.
Azerbaijan fine art is old and rich as history of our people. Research of theatre, cinema, music and folk art, passed long and difficult way of development, proves high cultural heritage of Azerbaijan people. Culture and fine art workers of Azerbaijan always make efforts to spread our culture to world and has achieved it partly. Entering of Azerbaijan mugam into world cultural heritage by UNESCO, rewarding of well-known film master R.Ibrahimbayov, screenwriter and producer by "Oscar" and keeping of manual works and carpets, made by popular masters in famous museums of the world are obvious proves.