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SHONATAROSHI/SHONASOZI is a traditional craft of the Tajiks for producing combs.

To a large extent, it was developed in Samarqand, Bukhara, Khujand, Istaravshan, Hissar, and Kulob.

The way of producing starts with choosing wood. It is predominantly produced from nut, seldom – apricot, and pea trees. Tablets are made from wood and dried in shadow. First of all, these dried tablets are made with homtarosh with a large axe then pukhtatarosh is made with a small axe. The edges of tablet are smoothed with a saw, the places of comb’s teeth are marked with a file and covered with oil, and it is left for 2 – 3 hours till a wood absorbs oil. Then the process of sawing out large and small teeth of comb starts. Here, a master put a skinned thimble – angushtboni charmi – on the finger of left hand, the function of which is both to protect a finger and to mark intervals between teeth. Then, a master-shonasoz smoothes the lower parts of comb’s teeth out. If the comb is two-side, one side has small teeth, and another side – large ones. Special attention is given to the work with the ends of teeth – nushbarori. A master polishes with a file an internal distance between teeth and the ends of teeth but blunts tips in order it could not scratch in using. Two-side comb is also processed with special ‘curved knife’ – kazhkord – in order it could be held comfortably.

The following stage is connected with decorative works. A straight line is drawn under teeth. Ornaments in the form of wave, so-called ‘nakshi mor’ – ‘ornament of snake’, are drawn. Pictures, traditional ornaments islimi and handasi (geometric) as well as texts, animals, and others are drawn with different instruments. After that, all is processed with an abrasive paper and cleaned with a brush (traditionally, this process is called ‘parzani’ – ‘beat with feathers’ because before bunch was made from cock’s feathers instead of brush). Ready comb is twice covered with oil, every time it is cleaned. Sometimes combs are covered with beeswax to protect it against hotness and water.

The use of wooden combs is useful for health.

In Istaravshan, the craft shonataroshi is transferred from generation to generation. In an old city, there is the street of shonataroshon up to now.

One of famous families is the family of master-shonatarosh, Usto Ikromi (1947 – 2008), son Usto Mirgaffori shonataron, and father Usto Mirgaffori Gafur shonatarosh.

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