Rare Items in the National Museum of Adygeya Revealed

Correspondent of “Arguments and Facts – Adygeya”, Zarema Hadzhibiyokova, accessed the rarest pieces in the stores of the National Museum of Adygeya

The collections of the National Museum of republic of Adygeya in Maykop have thousands of items. From time to time they are showcased, but the main reserves are hidden from the eyes of tourists. The Museum staff obliged “AIF-Adigea” with a small tour of the esoteric and exotic stores.

The Museum boasts of a large collection of Circassian (Adyghe) folk musical instruments, and substantive collections of ancient national household items. Behind some of these, there are some fascinating facts. For example, few people know that the Circassians made spoons from boxwood [Photo 3]. A craftsman of the Zaremuk family in the village of Ponezhukay made spoons from bull horn. 

There are other curious objects of everyday life. "In ancient times, our ancestors also smoothed out their clothes and linen, but, instead of flat irons, women used dollies and beaters for clothes and linen. Linen was smoothed out by coiling it tightly on a smooth wooden stick, and clothes were treated on a dolly, a device in the form of a wooden boat," came the description of two items from an enthusiastic guardian. [Photo 1]

"We have unique collections, for example the saddle that was intended as a gift to Stalin himself. The residents of the village of Khodz made a Circassian saddle and etched an inscription on it. However, they made a mistake, as they wrote 'From the kalkhoz workers' [instead of 'kolkhoz'], and so the gift never reached its destination," explained one of the curators. [Photo 4]

There are many rare finds in other sections of the museum stores. More than a thousand items of the famous Circassian gold embroidery are kept in the Museum. Unfortunately, this kind of needlework has virtually disappeared.

Senior Researcher of the Museum, Nafiset Kidakoeva, proudly and meticulously maintains a kind of a theatrical dressing room – all the national costumes of the Museum hanging on individual hangers and strictly codified. Ancient artefacts that require special care are stored in boxes, labelled with photographs of the content and code numbers, and information is provided on the date the Museum acquired the items and how.

A Museum curator donning special gloves showcased one of the oldest pieces of the collection of women’s headdresses and hats – a cone-shaped headdress, dating perhaps to the end of the 19th century AD. Although the velvet is a bit worn out in some places, it still has its luxurious look, with timeless gold embroidery lavishly decorating it. [Photo 2]

All the priceless items in the Museum are intimately connected with the (physical) history of the Circassians, and indeed all the residents of Adigea, and they shall acquire even more value and significance with the passage of time.