Trans Eurasia travel

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Uzbek beshik

The beshiks were designed to keep mess to a minimum, each floored with a mattress with a hole strategically positioned halfway down to collect piped urine. Strings of cloves and chilli peppers adorned each beshik, bread and a knife were placed under the mattress, and triangular amulets stuffed with Koranic verses hung from the wooden rocking handle that ran the length of the cradle. These were all achik, and kept the evil eye at bay. European cradles were introduced in the Soviet factories but met with stiff opposition from the workers and were soon replaced with beshiks. These were, after all, a practical way of caring for large numbers of infants, and the time-honoured tradition of dipping dummies in sugar and opium also proved popular with Soviet nurses, quietening the unhappiest of squalls.

Christopher Aslan Alexander "A Carpet Ride to Khiva" 2010