Residents of Uzbekistan from time immemorial considered the land the main “breadwinner”, so they were happy to plow, plant and harvest. Respect for the land was manifested in any form. Even when building houses, residents try to keep the distance from the floor to the ground as small as possible.
Love for the land is also manifested in everyday life: every inhabitant of Uzbekistan has a kurpacha (handmade mattress-blanket). Yes, these are not the mattresses that we are used to seeing: kurpacha without springs and fillers.
How is kurpacha used?
Kurpacha is a lightweight quilted mattress that is used for various purposes. They sit on mattresses during meals, especially when lunch is held at a dastarkhan (a low table for eating), and receive guests.
In addition, the kurpacha is laid on the floor to rest at night and at noon, and in the cold months they even take shelter for her. In addition to kurpacha, small square pillows and rollers are sewn, which make sleep more comfortable, and during a meal they are used as armrests.
Kurpacha is also used as decoration. The patterns of each mattress are individual. The Uzbeks say that kurpacha is replaced by furniture and only sitting on the floor can you really rest and relax.
Children are taught to be kurpacha from birth. When a child is born, he is immediately placed on a small kurpacha. Throughout his life, a person eats and sleeps on the Kurpacha and, accordingly, instills traditions in a new generation.
Kurpacha is a mandatory attribute at weddings
Kurpacha is the bride’s dowry at every wedding. By the number of mattresses, guests evaluate the wealth and prosperity of the family that marries their daughter. Amazing? Imagine, not in one European country there is no such custom, to assess the wealth of a family by the number of mattresses.
How kurpacha is made
Once upon a time, kurpacha were made only by men, because this work was considered difficult, requiring patience and concentration. Today kurpachi are also created by women, and knowledge is passed on from the older generation to the younger.
If you are planning a tour to Uzbekistan, know: you can buy kurpacha anywhere in the country, but the world’s most famous mattresses are sewn by masters from the Fergana Valley (an intermontane depression in the mountains of Central Asia).
The standard kurpacha sizes are as follows:
- width – 0.75 meters;
- length – 3.60 meters.
Patterns, fabrics and colors of mattresses are always different. Kurpacha’s appearance is always unique. Most likely, you will not be able to find several mattresses with the same patterns. Most often, the front part is made from khal-satin or pan-velvet. By the way, it is thanks to these that the kurpacha fabrics turn out to be so pleasant and soft.
For the manufacture of the inner part, cotton fabrics are used, and ordinary cotton wool is used as a filling. To make the finished mattress thin and light, beat the cotton wool until smooth. To make one kurpacha, you will need from 5 to 10 kg of cotton, but it all depends on the parameters of the mattress.
Service life of Uzbek mattresses
Kurpacha is a long-lasting attribute of Uzbek houses. Such mattresses serve the owner for decades, and if the cotton wool is “lost”, you can easily rip the seams and replace the filler with a new one. That’s all: the old kurpacha will again become soft, practical and will serve for many more years.
Uzbekistan has a hot and arid climate. The average temperature in cold months varies from –8 to +3, so kurpacha is used all year round. If the temperature drops lower in winter, locals stack several mattresses in a pile to create a cozy and warm place to sleep.