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Nikolai Galushkin, About the Properties of Various Metals

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


Nikolai says that metal cools down and hardens. To soften it, the master needs to heat the metal continuously. When struck with a hammer, metal plates change their form and become thinner and wider. Precious metals could be melted several times. Softer metals do not require heating up. In the video Nikolai makes a silver buckle for a belt. He says that silver is a soft and flexible metal. The buckle should be thick rather than thin. The belt could be shortened or prolonged by adding or removing silver plates. Usually such belts are used in families through generations. Today Kalmyk belts made from silver plates are rare. Nikolai starts by drawing a picture of a belt. Then he prepares silver for the plates and the buckle. Before polishing, the silver parts need to go through several stages of preparation. After the metal parts are ready, they are attached to the belt. Nikolai says that hand-made silver parts are always better than factory made ones. The buckle may have floral ornaments or other symbols of wellbeing, luck or continuous movement. The ornaments should not only symbolize something, but they should be aesthetically beautiful as well. Not only are traditional ornaments informative in terms of signs but they are also simple shape-wise.




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Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin