In the past, each ulus (administrative unit) had its own craftsmen and artisans who served the needs of the local population. At the beginning of the 20th century, for example, 40% of Kalmyk artisans were specialized in pelt processing and leatherwork, 40% were sewers and embroiderers, 10% were highly skilled artisans engaged in ceramic art, carpentry, and jewellery, and the remaining 10% produced implements used in fishing and agriculture. Many craftsmen and craftswomen – especially those who processed pelt, sewed, made felt, mended furniture etc. – were not full-time artisans but ordinary nomads who undertook crafts as part of their household activity. Following decades of sedentarization and industrialization in the Soviet period, with its negative impact on nomadic culture and life style, today many traditional crafts and methods are either forgotten or are rapidly disappearing.
This page hosts four video collections about traditional crafts, techniques, methods, and stories of artisans.