Alexei Naranov, About Leatherwork and Crafts

Terbish, Baasanjav 
Churyumova, Elvira 

Change log

Alexei talks about manual pelt processing, the use of leather in clothing, as well as about blacksmiths and saddles. Darina: Do you have craftsmen in your family? Alexei: I made things myself. Also, my mother used to process lamb skin from which she made hats. Darina: How did she process a skin? Alexei: After the sheep was slaughtered, she took its skin and scraped it to soften it. Darina: How was the skin fermented? Alexei: A big pot is filled with fermented milk. The skin becomes soft in this solution. All the dirt comes off. Afterwards the skin is dried. Darina: Was chalk applied to the skin? Alexei: Yes, chalk was applied to it to make it white. Afterwards, the skin was shaken out to get rid of the chalk. Darina: What did people make from a horse’s skin? Alexei: People made everything. Darina: Did people make winter coats? Alexei: Winter coats were made from a sheep’s skin. A horse’s skin was used to make a coat called dokha as well as various covers. Darina: In dokha, was the fur inside out? Alexei: Yes. Darina: A coat from a sheep’s skin - was its fur inside? Alexei: Yes, inside. Darina: Did you have blacksmiths? Alexei: Yes. Darina: What did they do? Who were they? Alexei: They did repair works in our kolkhoz. They looked after tractors and equipment. They were all Russian men. Darina: In the past, who made saddles? Alexei: There were masters who made them. Saddles were made from pieces of wood that were glued together. Darina: Were stirrups the only metal part in saddles? Alexei: Yes. Darina: Were there any specialists who made stirrups? Alexei: We bought iron stirrups in Astrakhan. Kalmyks covered the top of their saddles with a cow’s skin. Pelt was used to make whips and other things. Darina: What kind of skin was a whip made from? Alexei: From a cow’s pelt. Darina: Was it used to make clothing? Alexei: No, a cow’s pelt was used to make boots or shoes only.

Leatherwork, pelt processing, blacksmiths, saddles
Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.