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Dagestan revives silkworms breeding industry

25 June 2020 23:52 Posted in:  BUSINESS
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Makhachkala, June 25, 2020. Breeding silkworms for the manufacture of Kumyk national shawls - tastars is being revived in the village of Nizhniy Kazanishche, Buinaksk district of Dagestan. This year, the local residents intend to plant mulberry trees to increase the number of silkworms and accept new students for training, the teacher at the municipal Center for Gifted Child Development, one of the project initiators Zhamina Shugaibova says.

"Formerly, we used silk threads not only to make scarves but weave carpets and paths. We decided to revive the folk art of weaving the tastar. For the present time we can grow caterpillars, get cocoons and threads. We have several thousand caterpillars - from cocoons, which they make and they make silk threads (7-8 kgs of threads out of 100 kg of cocoons). This year we want to plant mulberry trees to get leaves for feeding silkworms" - Shugaibova noted.

According to Shugaibova, special facilities in her house were equipped for the maintenance of worms. On the shelves along the walls there were put branches and leaves of mulberry tree with the silkworm caterpillars on them. The caterpillar grows for about a month - almost all this time it eats, interrupting only for sleep during molting. During its life, one silkworm caterpillar eats about 5 kg of foliage, while fresh leaves need to be planted every two hours.
"We collect leaves throughout the village, used to plant trees near the school, but now there are not more than a dozen of them left. Therefore, we want to plant seedlings in a separate area and enclose it.
Revive the forgotten

Shugaibova herself has been weaving the tastar for about 20 years. “I’m self-taught, there was no one to teach me, I recognized everything myself. And then I began to teach the others” - the teacher explained.

Three years ago, the Buinaksk District Gifted Development Center won a republican grant to support educational institutions developing traditional folk crafts. Now, Shugaibova, along with the other teachers teach the young residents of the region to produce silk threads and the knitting technique. Now she has approx. 90 students in the district center and in the rural art school.

“They study for the first year, then they begin to weave a triangular tastar, then a quadrangular one. They make scarves as a gift to mothers, grandmothers, don’t have time to sell anything,” Shugaibova said, adding that it takes about two months to make one tastar.

At the same time, she is convinced that in the future, the revival project of tartar weaving can have a commercial continuation. For this it is necessary to plant trees, expand the facilities and recruit more students.
“If I had the opportunity, I would revive everything that we could do before, because the manual work can never be compared to what one can buy in the store. All this can and must be revived” Shugaibova added.

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