Circassians - Culture - Traditional Crafts

Traditional Crafts

The Adyghes have been famous for making carpets (Adyghe: пӏуаблэхэр) or rugs worldwide for thousands of years, and they made most of their carpets from pampas grass Cortaderia selloana (Adyghe: ӏутӏэн; Arabic: نبات الحلفا‎) like other Caucasian nations.

Making carpets was very hard work in which collecting raw materials is restricted to a specific period of time within the year. The raw materials were dried, and based on the intended colours, different methods of drying were applied. For example, when dried in the shade, its colour changed to a beautiful light gold colour. If it were dried in direct sun light then it would have a silver colour, and if they wanted to have a dark colour for the carpets, the raw materials were put in a pool of water and covered by poplar leaves (Adyghe: екӏэпцӏэ; Arabic: شجر الحور‎).

The carpets were adorned with images of birds, beloved animals (horses), and plants, and the image of the Sun was widely used.

The carpets were used for different reasons due to their characteristic resistance to humidity and cold, and in retaining heat. Also, there was a tradition in Circassian homes to have two carpets hanging in the guest room, one used to hang over rifles (Adyghe: шхончымрэ) and pistols (Adyghe: къэлаеымрэ), and the other used to hang over musical instruments.

The carpets were used to pray upon, and it was necessary for every Circassian girl to make three carpets before marriage; a big carpet, a small carpet, and the last for praying as a prayer rug. These carpets would give the grooms an impression as to the success of their brides in their homes after marriage.

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