Mera dil hai Tajikistani..? Part 3

McComb, Jessie F., a Fulbright Scholar, was in New Delhi for a year studying the lost wax casting process of the Bastar region in Chhattisgarh and the surrounding areas. Back in America, she is going to contribute to our website in a new series Letter from America. Ms. McComb received a BA in both Art History and Physics in 2003 from Hamilton College, in Clinton, New York. In addition to her interests in Indian folk and tribal crafts, she has worked extensively with Contemporary Indian Art.

This is the third and final installment in a series of articles about my recent trip to Tajikistan for a craft sector assessment.

Although Pamiri houses look small and stout from the outside, the main room inside is often large and airy.

Raw wool from local sheep is also used to create beautiful felt rugs and wall hangings. The wool shown here has been cleaned and dyed and is ready to be arranged into a pattern for a rug.

Using a newly learned cut-felt technique artisans in the Pamir Mountains are beginning to create new felt products with innovative designs. This vibrant pick and cream pillow is created with wool from local sheep and chemical dyes.

In the cold Pamiris women have traditionally knit hats and socks for their families. Working with De Pamiri Handicrafts, women now make contemporary hats with new fits and designs.

Some women have even begun experimenting with natural vegetable dyes. The hat shown here is created with Zoroastrian patterns and natural dyes from an onion.

High peaks surround the Pamiri city of Khorog where sunrises and sunsets come on quickly. It is said that in the winter there are a few places in Khorog that are never hit by sunlight.

A group of women artisans bid us farewell in front of their traditional Pamiri house. Pamiri houses are built from stones, mud and wood from the surrounding landscape.

Embroidery is widespread throughout Tajikistan and an essential part of a young brideís trousseau. The embroidery shown here is created in stripes along a blanket so when the blanket is folded the embroidered stripes line up to create a stunning sight.

Artisans in Dushanbe (Tajikistanís capital) have branched out beyond traditional media. These painted silk scarves and wall hangings sell very well among the Tajik upper class.

A women demonstrates how she knits the wool hats. A woman can make about 15 hats per month, including processing and spinning the wool and knitting the hat.

A painted door depicts a traditional Tajik Doll. As per Muslim tradition the face of the doll isnít depicted, instead the artisan uses multi-colored yarn to create a diamond pattern.

On our trip to Khorog in the Pamiri Mountains, we had to cross dried riverbeds where previous spring floods had washed out bridges.

Traditional marketplaces are still in use in Dushanbe. You can find dried fruits and nuts anytime of the year and tasty fresh fruits during the summer.

Although the Tajik diet is based mainly around meat with tasty meat soups and dumplings, the dish depicted here is refreshing in the summertime with cucumbers, tomatoes, flaky bread and a thick creamy yogurt.

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