Badma Amulakova, Containers
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Terbish, B., & Churyumova, E. (2018). Badma Amulakova, Containers [Video file]. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.25325
Badma talks about 3 types of leather containers, including bortkh, tonkh and borv. Badma says that in the past the Kalmyks paid special attention to materials that they used to make utensils. It was important that utensils did not break during transportation. Utensils made from wood or leather satisfied this requirement. The only utensil in the yurt that was made from metal was the cooking pot. A container called bortkh was made from a horse’s or a camel’s skin. The technology is as follows: A pelt is left in sour mare’s milk (neke) for up to 8 days. During this period, the hair becomes loose and it is easy to detach it from the pelt with a wooden knife. The bortkh is made from 2 pieces of leather sewn together with a thick thread. After that, the bortkh is filled with wet mud and sand to give it the necessary shape. While it is wet, it is possible to carve decorations on it or to add one’s family’s stamps. Afterwards the bortkh is dried near the fire, by regularly turning its sides towards the source of heat. The dried bortkh is hung from the roof ring of the yurt to expose it to the smoke coming from the hearth. When it dries completely, the mud and sand is removed from the inside by shaking it. The neck of the bortkh is decorated with different metals. In the past, the wealthy people preferred silver or gold. The bortkh lid is made from wood and decorated with precious metals. When it was widely used in the past, the bortkh was carried on the saddle. Sometimes the bortkh had 2 compartments: one for chigyan (sour milk drink) and the other for vodka. It also has good heat-isolating properties. Besides the bortkh, the Kalmyks used tonkh and borv that were smaller in size. With a capacity of up to 2 liters, the tonkh is a leather container resembling the bortkh both in shape and in terms of decorations. In the past, people carried the tonkh either inside their coats or hung it around their neck. The borv is the smallest among the three containers. With a capacity of half a liter, it is made from skin derived from a camel’s leg. People usually used the borv to store milk vodka. The cork of the tonkh and the borv is made from the birch, maple or oak tree. In the video Badma shows several types of leather containers.
Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.25325
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/