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VYSHYVANKA NATION: Crimea


The true cultural heritage of Ukraine is "Tatar Ishleme", the traditional two-sided embroidery of the Crimean Tatars, which has more than 60 different stitches. A characteristic feature of the "Tatar Ishleme" embroidery is the use of pastel colors in combination with silver and gold threads. This ornament has acquired the geometric shapes in weaving and carpet weaving. Usually, flax, cotton, wool and silk were used for weaving. The linen fabric, produced by the Crimean Tatars, was marked by tenderness and softness. In jewelry, the traditional ornament is of special beauty.

The most widespread technique was filigree, the production of jewelry from thin silver wire.


The history of embroidery in the Crimea goes back to the days of the Crimean Khanate, where much of the professional embroidery output was destined for the Khan's court. Skilful embroiderers were highly prized and were well looked after by the state. They supplied any number of complex and labour intensive pieces that would be displayed at court and would help to impress outsiders as to the wealth and sophistication of the Khanate. It is probably not an exaggeration to say that nearly every aspect of the daily life of the people of the Crimea was affected by the use of embroidery. It would have been both a part of every day life, but would also mark the special occasions and festivals in their lives.

The ornamental motifs, depicted in various handicraft items, had their stylistic features, which depended directly on the technique of execution and materials used. The main motifs of the pattern are divided into two groups: floral and geometric. The floral ornament is typical for embroidery, carving on stone and jewelry art. Geometric motifs prevail in weaving and carpet weaving.

The traditional ornament, in addition to its artistic and aesthetic value, had an important magic and sign function. Special information was encoded in such an ornament, which, with the help of special signs symbolizing magical content, protected against evil forces.


Goods, embellished with traditional ornament, decorated the interior of the houses. These were towels ("eu-jiyar", "yagbez", and "sofa-peshkir"), napkins ("yemeni"), handkerchiefs, and curtains, carved wooden chests ("sandyk") and copper utensils.


The interior of the room of the bride was richly decorated. Before the wedding, the girl was preparing a dowry, which included hundreds of household items that the girl embroidered together with her girlfriends.

During the wedding, the room of the bride was festively decorated. Dozens of ropes were fastened under the ceiling, diverging radially from the center. All the fabrics and clothing richly decorated with embroidered and woven ornament were hung on these ropes and around the perimeter of the wall.

Items, decorated with traditional ornamentation, were important attributes in many rites. Fabrics and items of clothing were universal gifts during all family and public rituals. During the circumcision (“sunnet”) and wedding ("toi"), the winners of the traditional wrestling ("kuresh") or horse racing ("koshu") received embroidered vests, scarves and livestock. The bride was preparing for a bridegroom a set of gifts of nine items, established by the tradition: a tobacco pouch, garters for socks, a towel for a rite of shaving, an "ochkur" belt, etc. 

The events of deportation of 1944 caused the irreparable losses to the ornamental art of the Crimean Tatars as the people were put in the conditions of survival. The revival of various folk crafts (jewelry, pottery, weaving and embroidery) began in the early 1990s . In particular, in 1991 in Simferopil, the courses on traditional embroidery started to operate, on which Zuleikha Bekirova, the inheritable craftsman, passed her knowledge.

A series of seminars and exhibitions organized by Mamut Churlu promoted the spreading of ornamentation of Ornek in the most diverse kinds of folk crafts and its artistic interpretation. Ornek ornament is used in ceramics, carpet weaving, art panels and painting on glass.

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