Kitchen utensils used by the Bashkirs in the Inzer basin in the late 19th early 21st century

Khasanova Z.F. (Ufa, Russian Federation)


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This paper is aimed at investigating the area of distribution, production and use of kitchen utensils used by the Bashkirs, in particular by those peoples having resided or residing around the Inzersky basin (situated in the present territory of the Beloretsky district, the Republic of Bashkortostan), from the end of the 19th to the beginning of the 21st centuries. The sources for the study comprised archival and fieldwork materials collected by the author. A series of expeditions were conducted in 20102011 and 20162017 across the settlements of Gabdiukovo, Zuyakovo, Assi, Novokhasanovo, Usmangali, Inzer, Azikeevo, Aznalkino, Khusainovo, Sermenovo, Utkalevo, Uzyannbash, Shigaevo (Beloretsky district of the Republic of Bashkortostan). The author studied collections assembled by the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography of the R.G. Kuzeev Institute for Ethnological Studies (the Subdivision of the Ufa Federal Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences) and by various school and local history museums in the region. In addition, the archival materials of the National Museum of the Republic of Bashkortostan (Ufa) were examined. In the Bashkir population, who led a nomadic and semi-nomadic lifestyle for a long time, household utensils were largely made of leather and wood. With the transition to a settled way of life, leather dishes lost their popularity among the Bashkirs. At the end of the 19th century, the population began to widely use wooden utensils, which would be manufactured not only for their own needs, but also for sale in other Bashkortostan regions. Kitchen utensils used to be made from various tree parts trunks, limbs, branches, birchbark, bast fibre, roots, etc. Virtually all tree species growing in the region were used as a working material. Due to the peculiarities of the production method, three types of wooden dishes that were in use among the Bashkirs having resided around the Inzersky Basin can be distinguished: carved from a whole tree piece, with an inserted bottom and riveted. Vessels differed in shape, size and purpose. Huge one-piece tubs were used for storing flour and grain, while smaller bowls were considered suitable for melted fat, corned beef and other supplies. In tall and narrow vessels, oil, honey, sour cream and loose products were transported. Vats and tubs were used for kneading dough, shaking kumis, storing milk, beating butter and preparing yogurt. Wood was also a material for making trays for flour, troughs for cutting meat, buckets for biscuits, rolling pins, spatulas for dough and bread, buckets for water and other items necessary for cooking. Birchbark utensils were used for harvesting berries, as well as for storing salt, flour and cereals. As a result of technical progress and the development of trade and economic relations, the items of traditional domestic production started to lose their significance. However, such their qualities as durability, accessibility, environmental friendliness and cost-effectiveness have contributed to their long-term preservation in the everyday life of Bashkir people. Even today, the Bashkirs living in the Beloretsky region remember and use many methods of wood processing, including making wooden utensils. Unfortunately, this mainly refers to the older generation: the young know little about traditional wooden utensils and rarely use them in everyday life.


Key words: Bashkirs, Inzer Basin, Beloretsky District of the Republic of Bashkortostan, wooden utensils, kitchen utensils.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2018-42-3-133-141




Z.F. Khasanova

R.G. Kuzeev Institute of Ethnological studies of Ufa Scientific Centre RAS, K. Marks st., 6, Ufa, 450077, Russian Federation