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What signs can tell?
What Signs Can Tell
The richest collections of the Museum of Ethnography of the Donish Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan have yet to be recognized by the world. One of the reasons is that most of the collections have not yet been published. A catalog of jewelry located in the museum is still in manuscript form; we hope it will soon be published.
Right now even a fairly minor branding mark, as, for example, the one found on the bracelets, purchased in 1980 by the Zeravshan expedition, can bring to light a lot of interesting and useful information, confirming the fact that every little detail deserves attention.
Masters of toreutics, jewelers, ceramics specialists, and virtually, all of the craftsmen used branding to mark their product. Brand served as kind of a business card, on which fairly complete information about the craftsman, the place and date of manufacturing the item was encrypted. Brands were placed on objects made by highly professional craftsmen, who received them from the government at the so-called proof inspection places of registration.
Thus, brand PI0 was distributed in 1956, when it was marked PI6, in 1958 became PI8 in 1958, and in 1960 - PI0. Thanks to the table of brands made by M. Postnikov-Loseva, a major specialist in the field of jewelry, it was possible to decipher the first two capital letters: they are associated with the name of worksmen’s cooperative association “On covenant of Illich,” “Po Zavetam Illicha .” Products made by that association were inspected by the Kostromskaya Inspection, which branded silver and gold objects.
Thus, silver bracelets, purchased in the village of Saratok Ayni district could get there in two ways: they were either brought as a gift from Russia, or they were made by members of the association by request, when the jewelers traveled in search of additional earnings.
This seemingly small part in the décor of the bracelet sheds some light on a different sides of not only the craft of jewelry making, but also on trade, economic and cultural process of not-so-distant past.
Having access to the wide ornamental range of bracelets, used for instance by jewelers when publishing their sketches and designs, would greatly expand the creative possibilities of contemporary jewelers. The forms and types of traditional jewelry of Tajikistan would become a good school for contemporary artists engaged in the revival of past traditions by using them in today's culture and art.