Exquisite Workmanship

      The skill of precious metal processing in handcraft way are met in Caucasus in Georgians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis & others but nowhere it had such scales as in Lak. In Kazikumukh district the processing of gold & silver are met in 55 of 100 auls.

      The best masters were considered the masters of such villages as Kumukh, Khurukra, Unchukatl, Kaya, Kurkly, Balkhar. D.S.Gabiyev mentioned also the following villages: Nitzovkra, Duchi, Chitur, Churtakh, Chara.

      Many trade researchers single out Kumukh (Kazi-Kumukh), which is famous not only as the center of Laks, but as the place where all kinds of trade were represented. Kumukh was famous for the smartest samples of armour skill, for the high mastery in decorating the different things by silver, gold, ivory, enamel. According to the information of 1886 year there were 608 silver masters & 276 blacksmiths.

      The local masters prepared different women adornments from silver & gold: cast & lacy belts, rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, head dressers, buttons, chest adornments. Besides they made snuffboxes, glasses, boxes, Caucasus men belts, decorated scabbard of knives, swords, sables & others. The most difficult work was considered the perfection of scabbard & handles of knives, swords, and sables.

      These goods were famous far out of Caucasus. Especially expensive works the masters gave as a present for the East Rulers in Istanbul, Tebriz, Alexandria, Cairo, Damask, and Baghdad.

      The enrichment of the Lak masters' skills was conduced that they studied their mastery not only in their native villages but also in different towns & villages of Caucasus, Russia & in Near East countries. The names of Kumukh masters are well known in Ashkhabad, Batumi, Astrakhan, Kutaisi, Petersburg & many other cities. At the beginning of the XX century Master Magomet Batirov visited Arabia & Abissiniya; master Magomet Paramazov - Iran, Syria & others.

      The works of Lak masters were decorated by ornament like in Kubachi. Here you can see the interaction on the basis of similar technical methods in ornaments.

      The main sorts of ornaments are: "murh-nakuch" (in Kubachi - "tutta" that means "branch"); "kuradar" (in Kubachi - "marharay" that means "growth"). The elements that were often met in the ornaments in silver & gold were flower, flower in flower, grass & pointed binding.

      Small decorating elements ("tanga"), which are the structure of the Kumuh ornament, are less differentiated than Kubachi "biki" (heads), because in Kumuh there were not crushing into the smallest variations.

      Being the realistic reflection of the environment, the small ornaments & separate scrolls are identical with the names of plants, animals, things: " Hen head", "paw", "flower", "leaf", "bulb", "worn", "bush".

      On the armour they often used so called "cherkes's picture" - that is the separate areas of this ornament follows each other in the rhythm of alternated rounds & ovals filled by many small designs.

      Usually all the works of silver masters were ornamented by the blackness & engraving. Later at the end of XIX century filigree had a great spread, which was come to the Caucasus through the Small Asia from the South Europe by the Armenians-settlers at the beginning of XIX century. Belts ornamented by the filigree were decorated also by the gilt, colored stones of red, green & other colors. The badges, coins & silver engraving pendants traditionally decorated leather belts.

      Laks' masters with their rare goods took part in All over Russia Handcraft Trade Exhibition in Petersburg in 1903. The big silver medal received the citizen of Kumuh for work of art & technical perfection of jewelry. Small silver medals got also Kumuh masters; one for gold notch on steel & bone, the other for the beauty & artistic quality of silver & gold works.

      At the 2nd half of XIX - beginning of XX century many talented masters of Caucasus were superseded by the Daghestan people, among which prevailed the Laks of Kazikumuh district. Keeping their traditional technique & perceiving many themes of near by living people, Lak masters enriched their technology.