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Pottery & Metal Works in Tajikistan

Pottery & Metal Works in Tajikistan
One of the oldest and most popular handicrafts is pottery. The production of own temperature ware was a fundamentally efficient process. Low firing temperatures and short firing times limited the amount of fuel required important in dry areas of Tajikistan where surplus of vegetation was not to be wasted and fuel often had to be painstakingly gathered and carted from a distance. In the hot, dry summers of Tajikistan, porous earthenware kept water and liquid milk products cool through transportation and evaporation. The water ewers, jugs and drinking pitches produced today are practically indistinguishable in body and form from artifacts excavated. Archaeological records bear witness to the popularity of ceramic miniatures and toys in Tajikistan. Excavated toy figurines and whistles dating from hundreds or thousands of years ago differ little in form and inspiration from those still made today, particularly for the traditional spring solstice celebration of Navruz celebrated on 21 March. Favorite subjects include birds, sheep, dogs, horses, fish and mythological beings. There is a legend that potter is connected with fire, and it was always considered that half the creation of a Pot is the craftsman's work and half is through the magic of the fire. In the towns and large villages, pottery was usually a man's occupation. In the southeastern mountainous region potteries were made by women. The potter's wheel was turned by foot. Most popular, was pottery made in Khujand and Istravshan. Good pottery was also produced in the Isfara Valley (Kanibadam and Chorku) and the Karatag Settlement in the Hissar Valley. The range of objects made by the potters was very wide and included dishes of various sizes and shapes, cups – large and small, with and without stems, curved and straight, diverse earthenware jars, bowls, washtubs, and jugs. The ornamentation and color schemes differed with each region. Decoration, if applied, was incised, appliquéd, mounded, drawn or painted using solutions of suspensions of ground red and ochre-colored oxides and other minerals. It was only in the ninth and tenth centuries that potters began to use glazed ceramic. Glazed ceramic technologies were adopted in Central Asia with the advent of Islamic culture from the southwest. Potters producing glazed wares decorated many of their dishes, bowls and other vessels· with vibrant, bright flowers and vegetal motifs. These often mirrored or complemented the designs and colors of the embroidered, woven and printed textiles, which brought warmth, brightness and tradition to festive occasions and the interiors of homes across the region. The most common traditional method of glaze decoration is single-fired under glaze painting. In the under-glazed technique the decoration was painted on the dry, unfired pot, which is then covered with a transparent glaze and fired. A fundamental feature of ceramic glazing technology was the use of alkaline glazes made from a pure silica sand or ground, fired quartz as the primary raw materials with plant ash as the flux. The plant ash, high in sodium and potassium, enabled firing at relatively low temperatures (900-1,000C) and was obtained from a range of arid-environment plant. Today production of glazed earthenware has decreased considerably due to the abundance of cheap factory made crockery.
 
Ceramics were important in many celebrations that are characteristic of Tajik culture. When a girl was married, her relatives used to present her with various items of pottery. Families also used to purchase significant amount of new pottery for the wedding feasts, which occurred over a number of days with much food, music and many guests. Besides, local neighborhood (mahalla) communities purchased pottery to be used by people living within the mahalla for wedding ceremonies and other neighborhood national festivities and receptions. Metalwork, to include copper and bronze chasing, and jewelry making were of high quality. Metal chasing was concentrated in the towns, and used for the ornamentation of jugs for water and tea, hand- wash basins, trays, various bowls, plates and big copperpails.
May 11, 2021 09:49
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