Rustem Adagamov, that is drugoi, whose beautiful and nostalgic pictures on the Muromtsev Dacha – “Yerofeev was here” – have been already quoted at Río Wang, recently went to Abkhazia where he took photos among others in the blacksmith’s shop of the village of Blabyrhua. Although it was Sunday, the 77 years old blacksmith Vladimir Khutaba and his eldest son Daur opened the shop for the guest’s sake, and began to prepare the most important iron piece in a traditional Abkhaz household, the chain holding the cauldron above the fireplace.
The images, rich in details, live when enlarged, so it is really worth to click on them.
Abkhaz blacksmith’s shops, writes drugoi, stand alone among the mountains, far from the villages. They were considered sacred places of pre-Christian Abkhaz religion, whose followers are still 8% of the population according to the census of 2004. Traditionally each big family had its own blacksmith’s shop where they assembled once a year to discuss the affairs of the clan, and this profession strictly passes from father to son, no stranger can be admitted to it.
In the traditional workshop they introduced only one innovation: the bellows were replaced with a high-powered gas burner. Formerly, the master says, when somebody brought some urgent work, he himself was set to operate the bellows.
I have not seen any working blacksmith’s shop any more, but this place vividly recalls the memory of the workshops and old masters of my childhood. And I think not only to me. But to me it is the old blacksmith’s hands and face that are the most beautiful in these photos.
And finally a two minute long video on which the previous images join into a continuous movement, accompanied by the restful sound of the hammer.