Ornaments of Mountain Tajiks in Darvaz (Mountainous Bukhara)


Ornament gornykh tadzhikov Darvaza (Ornaments of the mountain Tajiks in Darvaz) is a work by a Russian traveler and scholar on the material culture of the region of Darvaz, also known as mountainous Bukhara (in present-day Tajikistan). The work focuses on two sets of objects, embroidery and stockings. The book begins with an overview of the area and its population. Northern Darvaz is located on the western side of the Pamir Plateau and on the right bank of the Panj River (parts of which form a border between present-day Afghanistan and Tajikistan). The author describes the land as beautiful, peaceful, and lush. The population of Darvaz is mixed, owing to invasions over the centuries and its proximity to the route connecting India and Central Asia. The author defines five types of people based on their physical features and notes that the people of the region are mostly Sunni Muslims, but not particularly religious. The book contains five color and 15 black-and-white plates. The section on embroidery discusses how silk embroidery is applied to decorate curtains and women’s clothing, often showing birds and a tree. Curtains are not commonly used in everyday life but kept as family heritage, mostly by well-to-do families. The author explains that the mountain people all wear stockings; they put on two or three pairs at the same time all year around before slipping into muki (very soft leather boots), which they tie with a string at the top.

Last updated: September 30, 2016