Artist Profiles

Artist:

Obidjon Obudov

Region:

South and Central Asia

Country:

Uzbekistan

Media/General:

Apparel

Year(s) Attended:

Santa Fe: 2019

About:

Few types of headgear are as regionally specific as Cho’girma (chugirma), the outsized, fantastically textured hats native to Uzbekistan; nevertheless, these inherently dramatic headgear, covered allover with shaggy, undyed sheep wool, can be enjoyed around the globe, thanks to artists like Obidjon Obudov.

Thought to have originated in this part of Uzbekistan in the 15th or 16th century, today’s practitioners of this deeply traditional artform most often picked up needle and thread as young children, learning how to sew at the knee of their older male relatives. In ancient times, chugirma was crafted with horsehair and camel-wool stuffing, but today, artists employ cotton and thread in favor of more archaic—and unwieldy—materials. Obudov lives and works in the Zangiota district in Tashkent; here, chugirma is in high demand, because for centuries it’s been an integral part of ceremonial costumes and dances. The primary material needed is sheepskin, gathered from regional herders. Typically the process involves the work of two people: one divides the sheepskin into usable pieces and sews them together, while the other person gives shape and structure to the hat, basting its sewed panels together to form a sturdy chapeau.

Obidjon maintains that it’s very important to him to pass on this unique art-making tradition to future generations. “I want to teach the ways of making chugirma because it has increased my quality of life,” Obidjon explains. “I hope my children will also choose this job—as I followed in the footsteps of my ancestors.”