The Azerbaijan State News Agency


Traditional crafts of Azerbaijan: takalduz, chests and weaving of reeds

Baku, September 17, AZERTAC

Azerbaijan is rich in traditions, developed over many centuries, an important place among which is occupied by folk handicrafts. Each city and region of the country is distinguished by the development of various kinds of crafts and arts and crafts. Among them, such ancient crafts as pottery, weaving mats, baskets, making painted chests, tambour embroidery, etc. And in many regions of Azerbaijan these ancient handicrafts, not only do not decline, but continue to flourish and develop for the joy of all connoisseurs of folk art.


One of the first materials on earth, which the man began to use, was clay. For several millennia it has served man, and during this time has found wide distribution in many areas of human life. The production of pottery, which served for the preparation and storage of food, and other products, exists and develops in Azerbaijan from time immemorial. Well-equipped pottery workshops were found during excavations in ancient fortresses of the times of Caucasian Albania in the territories of Gabala and Shamkir. And today in some regions pottery centers continue to operate, where ceramic products are handcrafted.

One of the workshops, which cherish the traditions of pottery, is the family enterprise of Jasarat Nuriyev, located in the village of Erkivan, Masalli region. It produces and sells household utensils - dishes, pots for traditional meat dishes, pitchers, flower pots, kerosene lamps, decorative items, amphorae "under the old days" and so on. In addition to the manufacture of standard products, the master works on the order according to the original client sketches, and also recreates the old ceramic products from the images in the catalogs.

According to the hereditary master, whose grandfather and father also engaged in this craft, the production of one product takes from 20 days to two months, since all production is carried out by ancient methods using the potter's wheel and traditional kilns for roasting. So the drying of one product takes about 20 days, after which it is fired in a furnace at a temperature of 1000 degrees.

It is not surprising that pottery products manufactured in this traditional way are environmentally safe, have a high aesthetic value and are in high demand not only among the local population, but also among numerous tourists visiting Masalli.

Painted chests

Another traditional craft in Masalli is the manufacture of chests. It should be said that in olden times the chests were an indispensable attribute of marriage. The bride, leaving her father's house, carried her dowry in the chests. In many areas this custom is still observed today as a tribute to traditions.

In the whole southern region, 2-3 people are engaged in the manufacture of chests, and only in Erkivan village of Masalli district. One of the famous masters is Sharafat Azizov, whose grandfather and father also practiced this craft. And now the master tries to transfer his skills to his son Seyfatdin.

As a rule, chests are made of the most malleable cypress wood. On average, the master makes 1-2 standard chests per day. The dimensions of the chests vary greatly. The smallest of them have dimensions of 20x12 cm, and the most bulky ones are 100x50 cm. The standard chests, those that are in greatest demand, have dimensions of 80x40 cm.

Most chests are painted in red tones, using traditional patterns, in an easily recognizable style. However, at the request of customers, the master can decorate the chest in a more original manner. So we happened to see a chest with built-in lighting and other designer delights.

According to Sh. Azizov, chests cause genuine interest among tourists arriving in the Masalli region. Among its buyers were also travelers from Germany, England, Pakistan and other countries.

The art of embroidery - takalduz

The ancient city of Sheki was and remains the handicraft center of tambour embroidery - takalduz, which is an exquisite floral ornament executed on velvet, cloth or morocco. Duma (father), who visited Sheki, wrote that he "bought two embroidered saddles for 24 rubles. In France, you can not have them even for 2000 francs, or rather, they can not be obtained at any price". In the middle of the 19th century, the products embroidered with a tambour seam, as well as gold embroidered seams, had wide sales not only in Azerbaijan and the South Caucasus, but also far beyond their borders, which contributed to the commercial nature of the embroidery.

The main material for embroidery with a tambour seam is velvet dark - blue, black and red. Embroidery in the style of tapestry is performed on linen fabric. Embroidery with a tambour seam is a subtle and time-consuming art. Sometimes the production of one work takes 3-4 months. Embroidery uses silk threads. The embroidery ornament is a bizarre intertwining of plant motifs and birds, differing in richness of color and composition combinations. At present, embroidery mainly decorates bags, pillowcases and tablecloths.

It is interesting that at the end of the XIX century in Sheki in special embroidery workshops exclusively male labor was used. Today, the art of embroidery is predominantly a woman's occupation.

By the way, it is possible to get acquainted with the unique collections of Azerbaijani embroideries that impressively testify to the centuries-old historical path of the development of decorative and applied art in the region, the high level of artistic skill of Azerbaijani craftsmen in the Sheki Museum of Folk Applied Arts.

Weaving from reeds

And we again return to Masalli, where one more ancient craft is preserved and flourishes. Millennia ago, people noticed the high hygiene of products from reeds. From him learned to weave mats, baskets, hats, etc. Weaving from reeds was widely spread in Azerbaijan, in particular in the southern regions. Today in Masalli weaving from reeds (in the local dialect - pizə) is preserved only in the village of Musakyuchya, where 40-50 people are engaged in this craft.

Occupation is a painstaking, requiring not only assiduity, but also courage. Reeds are harvested mostly by women, collecting it in spring and summer in marshy areas and by the sea. In such places there are many snakes, so collectors take all security measures to protect themselves from unwanted contact with these reptiles.

The collected reeds are cleaned of leaves and left to dry for 2-3 days. Then, on a special machine from dried stems, mats, baskets, etc. are made. On the day the craftsmen can weave 3-4 mats, the standard size of which is 1.10 by 4 meters, but this is not the limit. Individual mats can be up to 5-7 meters in size. They say mats made of reeds do not allow moisture and can be used for 2-3 years. Usually they are spread in the courtyard or in the house, and also used to decorate the interior in the numerous recreation areas of the region.

Braided reed products can be found on sale in many Masalli markets. In particular, in the bazaar in the village of Boradigy, on the morning of every Sunday, a traditional fair opens - the sale of wares from wickerwork, which collects interested buyers. Will be in these parts - be sure to visit!

Emil Eyyubov

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