Zaza proudly shows me his ‘museum’. He has set up a room behind the garage and exhibits items that are particularly important to the craft of wood carving. There are other artefacts representing Georgia’s farming culture too. Many pieces belong to his family. Zaza's father also collected some of these objects. The objects are no longer in use today but bear witness to old traditions. Such as the architectural element from the traditional Georgian house: a decorated timber pillar that is called the ‘mother column’ because of its supporting function. It looks slightly different depending on the region. Or the round container in which precious salt can be stored. Smaller chests, so-called Kidobani, could hold up to 60 loaves. The wood guaranteed a stable temperature. Carpets hang on one wall from which ‘museum director’ Zaza has attached portraits of Georgian cultural protagonists. The frames of the pictures are made out of knotted wood, mostly from the roots of trees. Queen Tamar, a ruler of medieval Georgia, is immortalised here, but also 19th and 20th century writers, artists or composers. These objects are part of his culture and foster a sense of identity.

Text: Susanna Koeberle
Photo: Alex Levac