1. Carpet-Weaving as a Ritual. From the beginning, the carpet was a ritual-cultic object among the Armenians, as witnessed by a number of customs and rites that have come down to us. In essence, it also meant that to weave a carpet was a ritual-cultic ceremony, the manifestations of which have been observed in the Armenian carpet-weaving centres in our days as well.
The ritual started when warping the carpet, when the commissioner offered food and gifts to a carpet weaver. This ceremony was accompanied by words of good wishes.
To carry out the entire process of weaving successfully, various amulets - decorated eggs, colourful stones and bunches of threads, daghdaghans (wooden ornamental amulets against the evil eye) - were hung over the loom, a needle was thrust into the weave, also a needle and a bunch of fibres were buried under the leg of the loom. All these measures were taken to ward off influence of an evil eye from the weaving, and to secure an unhampered course of working. In the presence of a person with an ‘evil eye’, the work was interrupted at once. They did not work on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, as they believed that anything woven on these days would be loose and would tear by all means. Carpet-weaving was accompanied by songs and dances, good wishes, which ritualized the entire process.
Undeniably, the culmination of the ritual was cutting of the carpet, i.e. the birth of a ritual carpet, which, according to the beliefs preserved up to the mid-20th century, could make barren women fertile. For this purpose, in a number of centres in historical Armenia (Artsakh, Lori and Syunik), barren women lay under the loom, and the completed carpet fell upon them when cut from the loom.
Thus, manifestations of old ritual-cultic ceremonies were still preserved in the carpet-weaving of the 19th-20th centuries: there was a rite leader, i.e. the master carpet-weaver; and ceremonies typical of the rite were performed, especially those to ward off the evil from the space, and the ritual meal, also the donations and accompanying songs performed after making the warp of a carpet and after completing the weaving, etc. All this reflect the ritual-cultic features of old carpets, particularly the idea of eternity of life and nature.
2. The ritual-mythical image of a carpet-weaver. A number of rites and behaviour patterns in the course of weaving point to the once ritual-magical image of a carpet-weaver. Actually, from the beginning, a carpet-weaver was already a mythologized hero, endowed with a magical power from the heavens. In this connection, noteworthy are the lines of the song composed by a carpet-weaver from Basen in the late 19th century:
My carpet is an ornamented sky, full of colourful stars,
Heavens gave me this gift, let me thank heavens and God.
The ritual-mythical image of the master carpet-weaver is observed from the beginning of weaving a carpet, from the donation rite and protecting the space against the evil. It is she who organizes the whole sequence of rites, and all these rituals are linked with her image. However, the mythical features ascribed to the carpet itself mainly testify to the ritual-mythologized image of the carpet-weaver: the supernatural power to make barren women fertile and fecund and revive the deceased. It is obvious that those who created objects endowed with such features should have had ritual-magical abilities according to old traditional notions.
3. The question of the sanctified space of the carpet. The ritual aspects of carpet-weaving bear witness to the fact that the Armenians perceived the carpet as an object with certain magical features as well. Besides the above-mentioned examples, there are various historical-ethnographical data to make such a conclusion. One of them is a ritual preserved up to the beginning of the 20th century, when a barren woman with a belief to become fertile would crawl three times through the hole in the unwoven warp of the completed carpet still on the loom. The ritual-cultic nature of an old carpet was also expressed in the rite of making the baptismal oil, or the chrism.
The Turkish traveller Evlia Chelebi witnessed that at Echmiadzin, the fire for making chrism was made on a silk carpet. The fact that the carpet did not burn was explained by the birth of Jesus on it.
In this aspect, it is symbolical that in a number of carpet-weaving regions (Artsakh, Syunik and elsewhere), the carpet field was called ‘tap’ (means ‘heat’, or ‘burning hot’ in Armenian), while in the province of Goghtan, the carpet field was called ‘tap’ or ‘takht’ only when it was red.
Thus, substantially, the carpet field was considered a pure and fertile space, protected from evil forces by magic edge bands. It is not accidental that sculptor and miniature painter of the Gladzor cultural centre Momik thought it purposeful to depict Mother of God seated on a carpet-throne on the tympanums of the central entrances of the church of the Holy Virgin (1321) in Areni, and the gavit (narthex) of St. Stepanos (last quarter of the 14th century) of Amaghu Noravank.
In the magical notions connected with reviving of the deceased, the presence of carpets was practically expressed by wrapping the dead in a carpet or a flat weave during the burial rites in Tavush, Taron and elsewhere until the beginning of our century. In our times, the custom of placing the coffin on a carpet manifests a survival of an old world outlook.
The symbol of a dying and resurrecting deity is naturally the symbol of fertility and longevity of life as well. So, in this sense, it is logical that among the Armenians, there is a custom of hanging a carpet on the wall, behind the bride and the groom during wedding ceremonies.
These customs reflect the echoes of old notions of mythical carpets endowing fertility. The ritual-mythical carpet should magically contribute to the newlyweds’ fecundity.
Thus, it is obviously seen that among the Armenians, the carpet had a certain ritual significance and it occupied an important place in a number of rites and in the beliefs of the Armenian people, in general.
Candidate of Sciences (History)
 See also V. Temurjian, Carpet-Weaving in Armenia, p. 171-172.
 A. Poghosian, Dashtayin Azgagrakan Nyuter (Ethnographic Field Materials), copy-book 1, pp. 52, 92; K. Melik-Shahnazariants, op. cit, p. 478.
 A. Poghosian, Dashtayin Azgagrakan Nyuter (Ethnographic Field Materials), copy-book 1, pp. 54, 67, 92; copy-book 2, p. 28.
 G. Hakobian, The Ethnography and Folklore of Nerkin Basen, Yerevan, 1974, p. 395.
 Ibid., copy-book 2, pp. 64, 105.
 K. Avetisian, The Sculptural Reliefs of Mother of God in Areni and Noravank. – Noravank, the Armenological Year-Book of the Syuniats Diocese of the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church, vol. 2, Yerevan, 2001, p. 113 (hereinafter Noravank) (in Armenian).
 See the images in Lucy Der Manuelian and Murray L. Eiland, op. cit., fig. 15, p. 12; R. Kevorkian, Berdj Ashgjian, op. cit. fig. 30.
 Yer. Lalayan, The Province of Borchalu. – Azgagrakan Handes (Ethnographical Journal), Book 10, Tiflis, 1902, pp. 124, 139; idem., Moush and Taron. – Azgagrakan Handes (Ethnographical Journal), Book 27, Tiflis, 1916, p. 189 (in Armenian).
 See, for instance, Yer. Lalayan, Varanda, p. 112.