Copper craftsmanship of Lahij
Inscribed in 2015 (10.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Copper craftsmanship of Lahij is the traditional practice of making and using copperware concentrated in the Lahij community in the Caucasus. The copper-smelting master coordinates the entire process and is accompanied by an apprentice who learns the necessary techniques while helping the master. The coppersmith-hammerer pumps the air into the ovens and hammers the smelted copper into thin plates. A craftsperson then polishes the hammered copper plates and decorates the ready copperware with engravings. This final stage of the process is said to be particularly important as the designs used often have an environmental focus, reflecting the bearer’s traditional knowledge and cultural values. The master is responsible for selling the copperware in the workshops and remunerating the work of the other craftspeople involved. The tradition is transmitted within families from father to son. Numerous families in Azerbaijan come to buy copperware in Lahij and use it in their daily lives believing it improves the health benefits of food. For artisans, the tradition represents a major source of living and provides a strong sense of identity and community pride. Copper craftsmanship also reinforces family relationships within the Lahij community and is perceived as a clear marker of Lahij identity.