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18th century work of art carpets find their way back to Chiprovtsi History Museum through donation

A valuable donation was received by the Historical Museum in the town of Chiprovtsi in Northwestern Bulgaria. Timothy and Penelope Hayes - an American family couple who collect and study antique carpets made in the Balkans - donated to the museum two unique carpets, which they bought from private collectors.

The couple came across an interesting find in an antique shop in Vienna - two priceless carpets. One was an 18th century Galibalda type, and the other was a unique piece of art with an interesting story, as it was woven by a Muslim woman in Ludogorie region. The donated carpets are the oldest specimen in the collection of the history museum in Chiprovtsi, a town famous for its carpet weaving traditions.

According to history sources and documents, in eighteenth-century the women of Chiprovtsi and the nearby villages of Zhelezna and Kopilovtsi made 8,000 prayer rugs for the needs of Second Turkish army each year.
"We've been looking for so long to find such a carpet, made in Chiprovtsi. Long time ago the women of Chiprovtsi used to weave carpets for churches, too - both Orthodox and Catholic, as well as for synagogues and mosques. The weaving technique of this carpet is different from what we know. It will be used for the scientific research at the museum," said the museum director Anita Komitska, PhD, for the Bulgarian public television BNT.

The art of carpet weaving is recognized by UNESCO as part of the world's intangible cultural heritage, and each new find helps experts to reconstruct a more detailed history of carpet weaving.

Compiled by: Gergana Mancheva

English version: Elizabeth Radkova

Photos: museology.bg and library

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