A study of 1970s Hakkari handmade shoes: An ethnography

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Buğrul H.

Intellect, vol.6, no.3, pp.329-349, 2020 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 6 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1386/cc_00021_1
  • Journal Name: Intellect
  • Page Numbers: pp.329-349
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes


This study examines the types of shoes that were worn in the 1970s in Hakkâri – a city and province in Turkey close to the Turkish–Iraqi border – and its surroundings, linking them to social statues, choice, taste, as well as economic power and the original cultural heritage of the local community. The findings detailed herein are based on samples taken from fieldwork conducted in 32 localities. Severe winter conditions have an important place among the factors that shape the social life of the local people of Hakkâri. In winter, they used to wear snowshoes called ‘leken’ to walk comfortably on snow of 2 m depth. Unlike various types of shoes worn today, there were three types of shoes worn in Hakkâri and its surroundings in the past in addition to snowshoes. The first is the one made of goat hair called ‘reşik’; the second is called ‘lastik’, which has a tyre sole and has knitted sides made of goat’s hair yarn; the third is a shoe called ‘kalik’, all made of cattle skin. The characteristics of these shoes have close relations with the material, colour and shape of shoes and the class and status of the people who wore them as well as with traditions and culture of the community. As well as exploring the material and other features of these shoes, similar shoes, redesigned and made in other nearby provinces, are compared and discussed. This study is significant in that these traditional handi- crafts are at the risk of vanishing as are other handicrafts in other parts of the world due to the influence of technology and industrialization. By considering thetraditional methods of shoe making in Hakkâri and contextualizing this amongst the practices of other nearby provinces, this study aims to contribute to the promotion of the culture and art of the region and add to the limited literature in this field.