The Law on Culture (2012) defines artisanship (applied arts, traditional decorative arts, national fine arts) as a kind of intangible cultural heritage. Works of fine arts (including plaques, pictures, drawings, engravings, stamps, lithographs, patterns, sculptures, original art collections and montage) and works of applied art (carpets and carpet products, gold, platinum, silver, precious stones, copper and clay items, ceramics) are classified as cultural values.
The Law on Legal Protection of Azerbaijani Folklore Samples (2003) regulates the relations arising in connection with the provision of legal protection, use and protection of national folklore, which is an integral part of the cultural heritage of Azerbaijan, as a particular type of intellectual property. It also applies to examples of applied arts and folk crafts, including graphic arts, paintings, series drawings, shadow paintings, forging and carving, sculpture, ceramics, clay, mosaics, metalwork, copper and bronse castings, silkworm breeding, carpet weaving, coppersmithing, jewellery, tanning, embroidery, basket-making, clothes, ornaments, patterns, musical instruments, carpentry, architectural works and other such examples.
The Law On Protection and Development of Azerbaijani Carpet Art (2004) regulates the relations arising with the preservation, study, promotion and development of Azerbaijani carpets woven in the historical territory of Azerbaijan and now hand-woven by folk artists, masters and painters. It is helpful to note that this law is an exciting and original example of concrete and practical legislation in visual arts and crafts.
First, it underlines that the Azerbaijani carpet is a material and spiritual wealth of the Azerbaijani people, the result of intellectual activity, reflecting the aesthetic outlook, artistic talent, originality and cultural identity of the people, and provides the main indicators of the Azerbaijani carpet as follows:
- Type of carpet (pileless and piled carpet);
- Carpet art schools (Guba, Shirvan, Derbent, Baku, Ganja, Gazakh, Borchali, Goycha, Karabakh, Nakhchivan, Tabriz, Ardabil, Zanjan, Khalkhal, Urmia, Garadagh, Marand, Maragha);
- Carpet names (names determined by the place of weaving, taste, composition, the pattern of the carpet);
- Sample (a technical project of the composition and pattern of the rug to be woven, prepared by the artist);
- Artistic features – composition of the carpet (pattern and colour arrangement), ornament (national pattern and its elements), colour (colour shades or colour solution).
Second, the register of the Azerbaijani carpet must be compiled and maintained by the relevant executive authority to create a database on the type, school, names, weaving techniques, dye composition, and artistic features of the carpets.
Third, the law provides for the certification of Azerbaijani carpets, i.e.:
- The word “Azerbaijan” and the name of the school of carpet weaving are woven with loops on the mass-produced and individually woven Azerbaijani carpets.
- To determine Azerbaijani carpets’ conformity and artistic significance to the samples of folk art, the carpets are certified following the procedure established by the relevant executive authority.