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Akvani - a piece of Georgian history2013-03-29 17:30
In the remote mountain villages of Georgia, in the poor families of artisans and farmers, women have worked along with the men in the fields for centuries. At the same time they had to keep house and raise children. Living conditions were very severe, and a real salvation for the caring mothers was a unique cradle - akvani, the function of which, as it turns out, was not lulling babies to sleep.
Akvani is a wooden cradle, the legs of which resemble a rocking chair. It was popular in Georgia, Caucasus and Central Asia up to the end of the 20th century. The exact date of the appearance of akvani is unknown. It is believed that the wooden cradle has Mongol origin and appeared in Georgia in 13th century, but many historians and ethnographers involved in research of ancient life, argue that such cradles were used in Georgia much earlier.
On the bottom of the cradle there was a special hole or pipe-bend, as well as a device for receiving urine. The cradle had a small mattress, bed sheet with a corresponding hole on the baby's diaper. Due to this baby remained dry, and constantly ventilated space prevented him from pathogens. In the winter baby was in the warmth all the time. If we compare akvani with modern nappies, this cradle can be rightly regarded as sufficiently hygienic device.
Having no opportunities to constantly take care for the children, the women layed infants into akvani and went into the field. They often tied baby with several pieces of matter which was the saving way out during frequent in those days wars and raids in the Caucasus. In an emergency situation, mother grabbed baby along with a cradle and ran, trying to escape from the enemy. Even in Soviet times, akvani was very popular in Georgia. It cost about 100 rubles, which was equal to a month's salary at that time.
It was a challenge to find a professional manufacturer of akvani in the Georgian capital, since this craft was spread mainly in rural areas. But we were lucky: we have managed to find one of such craftsmen.