By Laman Ismayilova
Silk scarf never goes out of style. Wearing it with your outfit is the best way to add charm to your look.
For Azerbaijani women, traditional silk headscarf also known as kelaghayi, has been always a must-have accessory that protects them from both the hot sun and cold wind as silk is cool in summer and warm in winter.
Kelaghayi comes in a wide range of different patterns and looks. This beautiful headscarf adds the perfect hint of cool to any outfit.
The main figure used in silk headscarf is buta, a twisted teardrop that has been a symbol of the divine fire, which has been worshipped in Azerbaijan since ancient times.
The edges of kelaghayi, and sometimes its central part (khoncha) are decorated with geometrical or nabati ornaments.
Each region produces its own unique type of kelaghayi. For instance, Shah buta, buta, and khirda buta patterns are typical for Sheki and Basgal kelaghayis.
There are many traditions associated with this magnificent headscarf.
Unmarried girls cover their heads with headscarf of bright colors, such as yellow, pink, gold or purple, while the old women preferred dark kelaghayis.
After obtaining the consent of the girl, the woman representing the groom's side used to present a jewelry wrapped in red kelaghayi.
In addition, during the henna ceremony of the wedding, the bride's head was covered with kelaghai and then henna was applied to her hands and feet.
At wedding ceremonies, groom and his closest friends also tied kelaghayi on their necks and a mirror of a wedding car.
In addition, trays with gifts from women arriving at the wedding, kelaghai was considered the most expensive gift. This wonderful tradition is still preserved in some regions.
Azerbaijan has been know as kelaghayi production center since ancient times. High quality kelagai was produced in Tabriz, Ganja, Shamakhi, Shaki and Nakhchivan.
The most famous silk headscarves are produced in the city of Basgal, a beautiful village near Shamakhi.
For many years, Shaki has remained in the status of the country's silk-breeding center. The largest silk factory in the world operated in the 19th century was in Shaki.
Basqal is also known for its Silk Center and Kelaghayi Museum provides visitors and tourists with a comprehensive picture of this ancient Azerbaijani art. In the museum, they are informed about the history of kelaghayi making art.
The most valuable 6 or 7 kelaghayis are produced in Basgal until now.
Kelaghayi production is a complex process, which involves representatives of a number of professions, including a tailor, a dyer of kelaghayi fabric, a pattern artist and an ornamentalist.
Making this head blanket weighing 125 grams, requires two days to paint and apply patterns
Nowadays ancient silk headscarf continues to captivate the fashion industry. Kelaghai has turned into source of inspiration for many fashion designers around the world.
One can enjoy these stunning headscarves not only in the Museum of Basgal, but also in the country's national museums.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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