The crafts of Tryavna – part 2
In the second part of the series about the crafts of Tryavna, we will tell you about several interesting and specific crafts left in the history of our beautiful town. Along with woodcarving, building and gaytandzhiistvo, crafts such as kuyumdzhiistvo, kazaslak and mutafchiistvo were also well developed in these lands.
This craft brings together two subdivisions of artistic metalworking: goldsmithing – artistic working and making of objects from precious metals (gold and silver), and dyukmedzhiistvo – making practical objects from bronze, tin, and lead. The wealthier kuyumdzhii worked more goldsmithing.
The goldsmiths made women’s jewellery, mostly of silver, rarely gilded – pawns, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, headdresses and rings for “sokai”, men’s and women’s rings, buttons, crosses, boxes for tobacco and muses; church works – covers and coverings of church books, coverings of icons, candlesticks, crosses, potteries, relic holders. Goldsmiths’ wares were made in several different techniques – forged, cast, and filigree of silver and gold wire, enamel.
The dyukmedzhii made all kinds of household and handicraft utensils – candlesticks, door and window handles and latches, hooks for hangers, rings, mortars, forks and pruning hooks, metal bases for coffee and tea cups, barutniks, lead brandy holders, knife handles, dyulger plumb bobs and spirit levellers.
How developed goldsmithing was in Tryavna can be judged by some of the original works produced by various master goldsmiths. Goldsmithing reached a high level of development during the Revival period, when there was a general upsurge in crafts.
Kazaslak was a decorative textile craft widely practiced almost only in Tryavna. Its origins can be traced back to the late 17th century, and it is assumed that it was brought here at that time by Dimo Krosniv from Edirne The name derives from the Turkish word ‘kazas’ and means ‘raw silk processor’. The Kazasi masters made knitted ornaments and cords from cotton, wool and silk yarn – horse bridles and saddles, belts and axel bands for officers’ and guards’ uniforms, gaitans for men’s clothes, women’s belts, tassels, lanyards, cords for revolvers and watches, etc.
The source material was mostly soft white wool, which they dyed dark red or dark blue. Less often, for thinner knits or woven fabrics, they used linen, cotton or silk yarns. The Kazasi craftsmen selected the wool, silk and linen themselves and dyed them with durable vegetable dyes. The Tryavna Kazasi were sought after and preferred craftsmen. Their products were exported to Constantinople, Smyrna, Bursa, Beirut, etc.
In Tryavna this craft developed in its own way, in accordance with the available local raw materials and conditions. The Kazaslak crafts proved to be one of the most sustainable crafts in the town due to the fact that it retained its markets in Turkey for quite some time after the Liberation, and its craftsmen’s organisation showed flexibility and a flair for adapting to new conditions.
Mutafchiistvo craft was one of the best developed crafts in the past, related to the breeding of goats, from which alone the raw material for the preparation of mutafchiiski products is supplied.
This craft developed in connection with the expansion of crafts and trade and hence the increasing use of Kiradzhiiski caravans. Hundreds of craftsmen therefore worked in several of the largest Mutafchiiski centres during the Revival period. Sacks and bags for carrying various goods, horse belts and horse sacking were woven in large quantities. Among them are the large preshovas (sacks for wheat) and rugs in the natural colours of the fur, which are also characteristic of Gabrovo. The craft declined rapidly after the Crimean War. As producers of goat hair sacks and trails, a part of the mutafchiistvo survived after the Liberation, retaining their proverbial industriousness.
In the next article we will tell you about icon painting, copper work and pottery.
See you soon!