Carpets hang on walls as a symbol of wealth, lay on floors to create coziness and are presented as expensive gifts. Studying fancy pictures in the shapes of diamonds and stars on them attempting to figure out their meaning is a fairly amusing thing to do. Globally spread carpeting traditions were borrowed from eastern peoples who were the first to learn how to make yarn and fabric out of fibrous materials. Specimens preserved in museums and private collections as well as researches of historians and archeologists testify to the existence of this craft in ages thousands years ago.
Steppe nomads of Central Asia started producing and using carpets as an essential part of interior design and additionally as a means of warming habitation. Thank to strong wind-proof fabric these attributes helped preserving heat inside nomad tents at the same time ensuring aesthetic view from the outside. Weaver-craftswomen used to create entire pictures on napped front surfaces depicting household and traditions of those times: caravans of camels carrying utensils, wedding ceremonies and images of tribes resting by the fire. By the way, such masterpieces were weaved intuitively, without neither drafts nor sketches. Therefore it was impossible to come across two identical “carpet units”.
The oldest napped long-liver was discovered during diggings in one of grave-mounds in high-altitude Altai. Approximate date of its production, specified by the scientists, is 5th century B.C. But despite conditions of preservation (2500 years in ice) the item turned out to be almost undamaged. Now the only carpet, that you won’t be mocked at after having a photo against, is displayed in Hermitage.
Women who had learned the trade of carpet weaving were acquiring the status of the most respected people of their tribes. Taking for a wife a weaver was nearly more prestigious then a chieftain’s daughter. Leaders of communities themselves treated handywomen with as much respect as ordinary people did. Special nomad tents were built for them, far more spacious and cozy, so that they could have comfortable rest in their time off. Alongside personal dwelling, needlewomen were allocated their own camels in the amount far larger then anybody else had. They performed a role of production equipment “transporters”. There was another special tradition to dress pack animals carrying property. Special pentangular twin carpets used to be made for the purpose, moreover every owner was obliged to have a gala outfit for the pet for festive occasions, but there was no way to buy it in those times just as any other napped items: they weren’t subject to purchase and sale back in the time. People had to queue to craftswomen in order to get a desired unit or exchange it for something from fellow tribesman.
With transition to sedentary life everything changed yet importance of carpets in household of eastern people still remained significant while one of the most honorable crafts became also very profitable. New ornamental traditions began their formation in those times, knowing the interpretation a carpet could have been read like a book. Vegetation patterns resembling trees or flower bouquets were considered a symbol of nature and eternal life worshiping. Items with images of the kind often served as dowry for brides and were given as presents for weddings and birth of children.
Geometrical motives consisting from various lines, dots, dashes, rectangles and other figures bore magical meaning. Depending on symbols and their combinations, such carpets performed functions of dwelling talismans. Special units were even picked for every room with one or the other element prevailing. For instance, items with numerous triangles were customary hung or laid in a living room: it was believed that they scared away people with evil intents. Another traditional eastern pattern is a star symbolizing luck and wisdom. Such carpets were often given as gifts to representatives of other regions.
In a number of Middle East countries carpet weaving still represent the most important field of population’s occupation. And although production became automatized to a certain extent, people keep memory of the craft’s origins and old hand-made traditions.Azerbijan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Turkey supply the world with the best handmade napped items. In some states national holidays dedicated to the art of carpeting exist; record-setting large units are made, able to cover not just a room but as much as a square… Insight into a history of this craft isn’t over yet. OUTLOOK will tell about its significance for cultures of different countries in coming features.
There are so many things that Italy mixes in its cauldron: gondolas that travel along olive-green rivers, scorching sun that, like a juice, flows into the bottle of Pisa Tower, entwined spagetti of streets and crusts of squares covered in a mixture of Italian herbs and dialects. Also, it has ducks in its teasury. Oh yes, it is these creatures that allow you feel a flavor of genine national distinctive. And this ducktale is over thirty years old.
A mini toast, a slice of cheese and a sip of strong coffee. "That is not a buffet!" a waiter will pronounce indignantly, looking at the disgruntled tourist’s face. The generous Ukrainian soul cannot understand how locals manage to eat their full with that. Therefore, before going to a new country, you need to know exactly whether in the evening you should prepare a couple of sandwiches to indulge them in the morning, whether you need some vegetables, or even some extra litres of water!
Upon hearing word combination “Hindu woman” an image of a beautiful woman wearing sari and definitely with numerous adornments and pictures on her body emerges in our imagination. Where does passion for body decoration come from in national traditions of this people?
Very soon we will lose their melody, then we won't recognize the words and finally the meaning will become a mystery to us. Disappearing languages. How many of them were there over the entire period of the existence of humankind? No one know that, and as February 21 marks the International Mother Language Day, we have prepared a post about endangered languages to pay attention to this issue once again.
Do you happen to get hungry? That is great as we go on with our story about the most popular street food from around the world. It’s freshly cooked - fall to, you guys! Let's start with the South Asian countries, namely Singapore - seafood-rich in vitamins and minerals occupy a key place in the diet of residents ...
We continue publishing author’s column of Sabina Safarova on traditions of Azerbaijan.We have already learned about the matchmaking and the engagement, and now OUTLOOK proposes to plunge into the traditions of rituals and xinayaxdi – henna nights ceremonies which precedes the wedding itself.
Experienced tourists believe that one of the best sure-fire ways to quickly tune into the beat of another culture is to try local food. In order not to be at a loss when choosing dishes and save precious time for spiritual food, Outlook gives you selective advice on street gastronomy from seven spots of the globe.
OUTLOOK journalist Elena Rasenko came back from Japan and launches a special series of articles devoted to this country. Warning for very sensitive readers: Beware! After reading, you will get a keen desire to break away, buy a ticket and fly to such a marvelous and fascinating Land of the Rising Sun!
OUTLOOK was lucky to visit hospitable Uzbekistan and get better acquainted with crafts of this amazing country. Today we'll tell you about art of golden-stitched embroidery that has long been considered the art of the nobility. We will tell you about mediums artisans use, secrets and unique distinctives of this craft. Feel the world with us!
All over the world, winter brings bright celebrations to people's homes, the traditions of how to celebrate them are born. The customs of one state differes from the other but people from different corners of the planet are equally waiting for miracles, pleasant surprises and a good fairy tale. On the eve of the New Year holidays, we decided to ask the diplomats about the peculiarities of New Year and Christmas celebrations in their countries.
Few of us, while our favourite tea is steeping, are scrutinizing about the way this drink went through to get into our mug. Of course, stereotypically, we know that most likely it came from India or China, but in fact origin can vary. In the world there are about 30 countries which are very seriously engaged in tea business, and within this community a very clear hierarchy emerges, headed by the so-called Big Tea Seven.
A Ukrainian woman with Azerbaijani blood Sabina Safarova respects her family roots and, being a member of the Union of Azerbaijani Youth in Ukraine, popularizes the culture of her country. Today, the story of a girl about one of the most interesting traditions of Azerbaijan - matchmaking, we are launching her author's blog, which will be filled with cognitive facts and subtleties of manners.
"A poor peasant lived in a remote Gagauzian village, and wealth of his was his three sons ..." so begins one of the folk tales composed by the Gagauz people. This Turkic people really lived a not wealthy life, roamed the villages, feed sheep... When a family gathered together to have some rest, old and young composed legends in their own way explaining the phenomena of nature noted by a curious and observant eye: why crows are afraid of people, why geese gabble, why an ant has thin waist, and what happens when you put fox and wolf in one harness.
Outlook often tells about the kitchens of the peoples around the world, but when it comes to Italy, writing about the country should be a crime. Each of its twenty regions has its own culinary world with the subtleties and specialties. Let the title of gastronomic capital of Italy be Bologna, its official capital - Rome, too, has something to boast about. We are telling you what is remarkable about Roman cuisine and what dishes are worth trying in the Eternal City.
OUTLOOK was lucky to visit hospitable Uzbekistan and get better acquainted with crafts of this amazing country. Today we tell you about art of straw work, about materials that craftsmen use and what secrets and unique features of this craft are. Feel the world with us!
In this day and age, it is difficult to surprise anyone, especially an urban resident, with some large department store or market, since nowadays one can buy everything from a humble convenience store next door. However, the iconic bazaars and flea markets are still operating across the globe, they are famous in legends and described with delight. Well-known is that they turn shopping into a cultural exchange and are much more than just a commercial place for the sale of goods.
‘Love evolves when one looks in the eyes of the person beloved seeing there God’, in such a way the lines of some Arabian song called Qawali is translated. The authorship of this chant is ascribed to Eastern strangers Sufi who tending to find the sense of existence strolled around the half an Earth bare-footed. In the travels they composed songs where they told narration describing what they had to endure.
It is said, the easier it is, the better we feel, however, is it always like that? We know that not all the nations follow this principle. Outlook has found out the strangest, toughest and hard in articulation international languages and would like to share it with the readers.
Ice cream with a taste of horse meat, pickled insects, fish with deadly venom, etc – Japanese cuisine has things to surprise, amaze and shock you with. And truth be told, enumeration of these dishes doesn’t help my appetite at all. But we are not after exotic stuff. True culinary tourism is an attempt to comprehend mindset and feel national distinctive color through traditional cuisine – not try most exotic dishes. Parts of people’s souls, its history and culture are actually concentrated in national dainties.