Artist name: Sodiq Zaripov
Product: Wooden products
Artisan story: I live in Sougd region of Tajikistan in Istaravshan. I am the craftsman in the 5th generation, my education is an economist, but I couldn’t stop the wish of my heart to work with the wood. I had finished tajik governmental University, but all my ancestors were craftsmen. We are 5 people in family member. I have 3 children. My family member and plus two person work with me and learn my skills. My wife is housewife and my alder son study at University. My handmade work is source of family income only and I prepare wooden products since 1996 year.
Product: Usto (respectful title for a “master” in Tajikistan) Sodiq has devoted his entire life to women’s hair. For many years he has produced the famous Tajik combs, carved boxes and other wooden products. His skill was highly prized even by foreigners, and in 2005 Usto Sodiq’s combs received a quality certificate of «Seal Product» from UNESCO.
Every year at various fairs, the Master sells hundreds of his combs. Women are happy to buy his wooden accessories from the Master. And he advises which tree would provide the best type of comb for each customer: walnut, apricot, pear, apple, hawthorn or boxwood. One look is enough for the Master to determine the structure of the customer’s hair. Furthermore, insists the Master, from which part of the tree trunk a particular comb was cut plays a big role. Toward the middle of the trunk, the tree gets its soil and moisture, and hence combs from this part of the tree are more suitable for dry hair. Walnut wood is particularly recommended for dry hair. As the Master explains, the wood gets darker closer to the center because of the liquid and oil, which gets even darker if the three was grown at higher altitudes. But for oily hair, he cuts wood combs from along the edges of the trunk. He especially recommends apricot wood for oily hair, because of the lower oil content.
Master Sodiq does all his work by hand. He takes the stump, splits it into wedges, makes the form by hacksaw, and cuts the tines. To test their strength, the Master presses on them with great force using his finger. And if the comb utters its typical resonant sound, it is good. But if there was a mistake and any part of the comb breaks, it goes into the garbage. Master Sodiq impregnates parts of the combs with propolis (a reddish resinous cement collected by bees from the buds of trees, used to stop up crevices in the hives, strengthen the cells, etc.), and afterwards with wood oil. The Master decorates successful combs with national and traditional ornaments.