Meet our Wood Art Master: Sodiq Zaripov

by Rikki Quintana October 13, 2022

wood art master Sodiq Zaripov wooden combs, barrettes, pendants, earrings

 

By the time this reaches you, I’ll either be on my flight home from Bishkek or already on the ground in Los Angeles. But I haven’t yet introduced you to all the HoonArts artists that we connected with on our 3 ‘Stans Tour. This week, it’s Usto (respectful “Master” in the Tajiki language) Sodiq Zaripov, who lives in the ancient Silk Road city of Istaravshan, located on the way between Panjakent and Khujand.

 

 

Usto Sodiq, a fifth-generation wood carver, has devoted his entire life to his art. For many years he has produced his famous Tajik combs. Each comb incorporates traditional floral patterns that have been passed down through the generations.

His skill is highly prized even by foreigners, and in 2005 Usto Sodiq's combs received a quality certificate from UNESCO. More recently, Usto Sodiq has expanded his artistry to other items besides combs, including hair barrettes (developed for HoonArts), small boxes, small animal figures, and the beautiful jewelry items developed exclusively for HoonArts.

Through HoonArts, Usto Sodiq has also undertaken reproductions of ancient Egyptian combs (for the Penn Museum in Philadelphia) and wooden spoons recovered at an archeological dig near Istaravshan (for a UK historical re-enactment organization focused on the Soghdian culture of Central Asia).

 

Rikki and Usto Sodiq during Rikki's 2015 trip to Tajikistan. 

Usto Sodiq works primarily with walnut and apricot woods, both reclaimed from local cultivated orchards. (Tajikistan is also famous for its walnuts and dried apricots.)  

Master Sodiq does all his work by hand. He takes the stump, splits it into wedges, makes the form by hacksaw, and cuts the tines for combs. To test their strength, the Master presses on them with great force using his finger. And if the comb utters its typical resonant sound, it is good. But if there was a mistake and any part of the comb breaks, it goes into the garbage.

Usto Sodiq continues to pass on his artistry to the next generation, including his sons. Recently, Sodiq also took on apprentices – students from the regional college of crafts. He teaches them that the shape of the comb should be the same as it was hundreds of years ago, and the pattern must be applied with love for the future owner of the comb, even if the apprentice will never see her. In these conditions, Sodiq tells us, the comb is not only useful, but also glorifies its owner, as the first beauty seen in her surroundings.

For more information about Usto Sodiq, check out this page on our website. Or learn about Sodiq’s reproduction of historical artefacts in this blog post.

 

Postcards from the ‘Stan’s

 




Rikki Quintana
Rikki Quintana

Author


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in The HoonArts Caravanserai

Winter & Climate Change Connects Us All
Winter & Climate Change Connects Us All

by Rikki Quintana January 26, 2023

The ‘Stans of Central Asia are also experiencing many of the same extreme weather events. It impacts real people (and animals) here in the USA and in Central Asia. The reality of climate change is that it affects us all, and we’re all in it together. It’s very easy to forget that . . .

Continue Reading

Just how does HoonArts get your Silk Road products from the makers to you?
Just how does HoonArts get your Silk Road products from the makers to you?

by Rikki Quintana January 12, 2023

Imagine it’s a typical winter in Central Asia. There’s a lot of snow on the ground everywhere. Some of the main roads are closed because of snowpack, accidents, or avalanches. Driving is dangerous even if the roads are “open.” Some of the principal airports in the region are . . .

Continue Reading

Live with Wood Carver Master Sodiq
Live with Wood Carver Master Sodiq

by Rikki Quintana January 05, 2023

One of my favorite stops during our Three ‘Stans Tour was the visit to the workshop of Usto Sodiq Zaripov of Istaravshan, Tajikistan. Usto Sodiq gave us a live demonstration of his art, carving a comb before our eyes, starting with only a block of wood. He also shared some of his own experiences as an artist and a couple of Tajik folklore stories without pausing in his work. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as our tour group did!

Continue Reading