Traditional Caucasian Culture

The Caucasus is a land of ploughmen and cattle-breeders, skilled craftsmen, fearless warriors and loyal women, faithful to their husbands and hearths.


The everyday life is best reflected in ethnographic artifacts, and the artifacts from the RussianMuseum of Ethnography’s Caucasian collection on display in this exhibition testify to that fact.


The articles on exhibit are placed in the context of their ethnic surroundings, which were reconstructed with the help of photographs taken in the beginning of the twentieth century by Russian ethnographers and collectors of Caucasian artifacts, including K. Inostrantsev and A. Miller, and by photographers from the well-known Yermakov’s studio in Tiflis.


Among the exhibits one can see folk costumes, household utensils, work implements, religious artifacts, and artifacts representative of the region’s characteristic crafts and industries, including cast iron and copper articles, wood carvings, carpets, embroidery, and patterned felts and mats. All these artifacts represent the material and artistic expression of the lives and cultures of forty indigenous Caucasian peoples and ethnic groups from the second half of the nineteenth century to the present. The creators of this exhibition hope that the spirit of the peoples in its unique ethnic configuration will invisibly, but perceptibly, appear behind the forms of these traditional artifacts, though they are material representations; if Maeterlink was right, then they contain the souls of the people who used them. The exhibition is arranged in such a way that the spirit of the Caucasus and its peoples can be seen in a glance at the articles from their everyday lives: implements of ploughing and wine-making (found in the unit, Traditional Occupations), costumes of the Svan  hunter, the Tushin shepherds, and the Adzhar fishermen (in the unit, Folk Costumes and Decorations), handicrafts of the Armenians jewelers, blacksmiths and braziers from Alexandropol, and the pile carpets (khalicha), famous throughout the world, created by their wives (the unit of Crafts and Trades).An old dwelling from the Northern Caucasus and the reconstructed interior of a present-day Azerbaijani house link with invisible thread the old and new in Caucasian cultures.