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Karakul , swakara

 

A karakul sheep was the first animal which people have begun to breed because of its beautiful fur. A high level of adaptation to semi-desert conditions has made this breed very popular among the peoples of the Middle Asia. The Khorezm khanate – the territory of Uzbekistan in present days is supposed to be the “historic home-land” of the karakul sheep. Every karakul fell is a unique thing therefore pedigree breeding has got a great importance. The most significant feature of a karakul sheep fell is its curls forming a surface tracery, or curlicue. The forms, dimensions and combinations of curls are the main characteristics of karakul fell quality. The fells with long rows of curls creating the tracery resembling x – ray photograph of a thorax are considered to be especially valuable. The “curly” sorts of karakul are the cheapest. With the years the length of lamb`s hair is increasing, so the quality of curls is deteriorating. The different directions of selection in producing countries have led to the creation of three sorts of karakul (the Uzbek, the Afghan and Swakara(the abbreviation of South-West Africa karakul)) which are similar to each other but not identical. Every karakul fell of a high quality is set much. The Swakara is considered to be the most expensive sort of karakul, as long as the number of fells in the world market is small but fell traceries are beautiful. The Afghanian karakul is the most widely spread and an actual demand for it is very high since it can be gathered in large homogeneous batches. 90% of all articles, made of gray karakul are sewn of the Afghanian origin skins. The high karakul of “jaketney” sort, which was the main product of Uzbek specialization, is considered as being a antiquated material. The latest fashion has a propensity for the flat ribbed sort of karakul. In connection with such tendencies the karakulcha (“broad tail”) is valued very high because of the fine moiré sketch of a future tracery.

Karakul

The black colour is the most widely spread colour of karakul. It has got the most spectacular tracery. The charm of grey karakul can be explained by colour playing, but its tracery is less interesting than the black one. Depending on the correlation of black and white hair quantities the possible natural colours of grey karakul lie in the range from a light grey-blue colour to a black one with a grey spine. The presence of some brown hair on the grey karakul fell imparts it a fine lilac tint. Such sort of karakul is called “guligaz” (in Uzbek it means “a flower of tamarisk”). The grey karakul is a very convenient material for dyeing, for a neutral grey colour does not make coloured distortions. After dyeing the spectacular colour conversion is well preserved: from intensive colours (on the places with white hair) to deadened colours (on the places with dark hair). The brown karakul belongs to the rare sorts, and it is not often applied with its natural colour because of a long range of colorations: from chocolate colour to beige, from ginger to cold pale-yellow one. The most valuable sort of brown karakul is called “sur”. Intensity of its colour is changing along height of hair: at the roots it is darker, on the tops – lighter. During “the best years” of selective work three “sur” strains of the seven colours (silvery, goldish, bronzed, platinum, steel-blue and colours of “apricot flower”) were being bred in the USSR. The rarest colour of karakul is a white one. Only swakara has a pure colour of milk; Afghanian white karakul is considered most probably to be a rare, casual variation of a light grey colour.

When karakul skins are used with their natural colours, the leather side of the pelts is to be dyed into the colour of nap in the majority of cases. A bleaching technology is used to process black fells having the most spectacular traceries. As a result dark beige coloured fells appear. The other expensive manufacturing technologies are applied more rarely. They are: the stenciled dyeing, partial dyeing and bleaching with the reservation of some places, skin processing with the imitation of suede and leather for double-face articles.

Swakara is being sold at Kopenhagen Fur auctions, the Afghanian karakul is basically supplied to Finish Fur Sales and partially to Сopenhagen. The volume of Uzbek karakul deliveries to the world market is rather small. The largest part of karakul production is being sold at the internal market of Uzbekistan.



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