Chust Knife and Skullcaps
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North of Pap, Chust claims even earlier settlement, for Soviet archaeologists found here a series of crouching corpses dating back to 1000 ВС. The site itself reveals little to the non-specialist, but the town remains a lively one. Chust is long-renowned for knife and skullcap production. Uzbek national knives, date back to the early Stone Age, since when their decorative and symbolic value has outweighed their military use. To watch the production process, visit the National Knife Factory at 46 Chusti str (tel. 36942 or 31025) where halls of young men smash and grind a wide variety of blades (tig)—carved or stamped and curling at the tip, the Chust trademark—and handles (haft), plated with horn or inlaid with mother-of-pearl. The famous Chust tubeteika, prototype of most Uzbek skullcaps. The black tetrahedral shape bears a pattern of white embroidery resembling burning capsicums (kalampir, to protect men from evil) and almonds (bodom, symbolising life and fertility). Four arches tin orate each side of the cap-band, representing gates so strong no enemy could enter and kill the wearer.