Tushetian Nabadi (Felt)

3 May 2018

 Tushetian Nabadi (Felt)

Felting is one of the oldest activities connected to the processing of wool and it is common among many nations around the world. The antiquity of this tradition in Georgia is proved by the felt fragments which were found with other things and cloth in the Bedeni Cave dating back to 3rd-2nd millennia BC.

In Tusheti, felted products were generally referred as "Nabadi". This term is also used to refer to shepherding garment with squared off shoulders – Nabadi (Burka). High technological qualities of Tushetian wool have contributed to the development of this field in Tusheti (characterized by high compression quality): “Sabarge nabadi”, “Sateqe Nabadi” (for clothes), “Sakhurava nabadi”, “Pekhqveshsaqeba nabadi”, “mekhis nabadi (long and narrow couch)”, “saqude nabadi” (ready-made product – “felted hat”), '' Saqevne nabadi” (ready-made product ‘Kevani’),  “Satiqaltoe nabadi”, etc.

The shape, purpose, duration of felting and ornaments created different types of nabadi. The manufacturing method and the technology are the same for all kinds of nabadi. The difference is in the size of the finished product, the duration of felting and the color and quality of wool.

Feltmaking was only practiced by women in Georgia. Tushetian women were skilful in feltmaking  and they could felt for their family needs. Only a family without a woman would order a piece of felt. Some types of nabadi were felted by two women; others were made by three and more. A narrow and small-size one could be made by only one woman.

In Tusheti for any felt work only the wool (long fleece) sheared in autumn was used. For feltmaking washed fleece was combed with an iron hackle or used originally according to the purpose of felt. Feltmaking is practiced in spring or early autumn when it is warm. If nabadi gets cold it cannot be felted and that is the reason why feltmaking is done in a warm room.

It is noteworthy that Tushetian women do not use the pre-designed sketch while feltmaking. In their works improvisational artistic nature is evident.

Besides wool, clothes were also felted.

Nowadays, for the household and decoration purposes of the interior – warming decorative nabadi is made only in Tusheti, in Georgia. They are prominent for high artistic taste, creativity, a harmonious combination of colors.