The words to express it

Ouzbékistan, Samarcande, tapshan, tapchane, rue Aboulouïs Farobi, © L. Gigout, 2012
Samarcande, rue Aboulouïs Farobi.

I have got a meeting with Gulmira, the young English professor I met in the night train from Bukhara. She pulls me in different places where she knows there are tapshans : Damaryk in the Tashkent suburb, the Kouk Saray chaykhana and the Sharshara waterfall. I examine with her the appropriate manner of naming the object that I was persisting in calling "tapschan" throughout my journey. What about really ?

"Tapshan" is a word known in the Russian dictionaries which give the translation bedstead or easel bed. But what is its origin ? Turkic, I find in an etymological dictionary. More exactly, Mongolian Tatar. Sanskrit, I also find on the web site of the Russian restaurant ТАПЧАН in Moscow, which claims that Buddha reached awakening at a place so called under a fig tree. Assertion which puzzles me. For some Tajiks, the word "tapshan" refers to a terrace. The Uzbeks use also the word "suri" and the Tajiks the word "kat". In the Tchulpan's book Night, the translator in French Stephane A. Dudoignon uses the french word "litière" (litter). In the glossary, "litter" is given as the translation of "suri" with the definition : "Big wooden litter with four feet where is taken the meals and where people spend the night in summer." But, further in the book, it is on the "kat" that the young Zelbi receives her visitor to confide her secrets. By a mail, Stephane Dudoignon will suggest to me later the Provencal term "radassière". "Historically, he will write, these kinds of litters where we can wallow (se radassa) are an adaptation of the Ottoman divan which was much deeper than his actual declension.

The word "kat" comes of "kad", had told me Hilola in Khodjent, which means "place where people are living". The Penjikent city name comes from "penji" (five) and "kad". Penjikent has five "houses" : the citadel, the main square, the suburb, the military garrison and the necropolis. The word kat leads me to think that cats and tapschans are certainly compatible. Is there a better place to stretch and devote himself to paradoxical sleep by purring ? I also often heard the word "chorpoya", which comes from the Persian where "chor" means four and "poya" foot. René Cagnat, however, uses the word "supa" in Uzbek and "chorpor" in Tajik, specifying that it is a wooden platform. But he also uses the word "aïwane" for the wooden platform with carpet and pillows in restaurants. Hayat had specified that the aïwane is, according to him, a "suri" with a roof supported by columns. Someone told me there is also the Russian word "karavot" but all these words do not indicate the same thing and it is not only a question of language. The tapshan is for the rich and the chorpoya is for the poor people, a tapshan without arms is a chorpoya, the suri is linked to the presence of a river and is necessarily made of wood, more sophisticated and more beautiful than the karavot which is more big while the tapshan is a bed for a single person. The tapschan is for the chaykhana where it can be twenty meters long. Moreover, is not "supa" himself, as asserted Mourodkhon, a cousin of "stupa", the small Buddhist building ? And "chorpoya" a cousin of "charpoy", Ulysses bed ?

On the basis of the Decorative Arts Museum curator, it is advisable to use the word "sofa". Let us consult the Salah Guemriche's Dictionary about French words derived from Arabic, Turkish and Persian. We find that the French word "sofa", which refers to a "canapé à joues pleines" (sofa or settee with stuffed arms), is a Turkish word derived itself from Arabic, language in which it refers to a "banquette" (stuffed bench seat). Turks made of this sofa a platform covered with a carpet, what allows Theodore Spandounes to write in an Italian narrative published in 1538, On the Origins of the Ottoman Emperors : "As has already been noted, it was Suleiman who introduced the Christian style of using tables and stools, and of making great ceremony out of meals. Normally they sit on carpets on the ground, cross-legged like tailors, with cushions of silk or other stuff. The lords and gentry sit on what they call a soffa". But It could very well be a squab ("ottomane" in french).

Suri, kat, tapshan, chorpoya, karavot, supa, sofa, aïwane, bedstead, radassiere, which generic word to use ? Sofa is already use in French and English, and bedstead and radassiere do not sound in according to the idea I have about this ideal object. So I choose to stick with the word tapshan, with its hard attack like the walnut wood and its coda soft like the bolish. Moreover, Gulmira, who is now urging me to accompany her in a fashion shop, agrees with me.

Tableau récapitulatif des différentes appellations en usage. Rappelons que la langue tadjike est un dialecte iranien qui s’écrit à l’aide de l’alphabet cyrillique et que l’ouzbek est issu de la langue turque et qu’il s’écrit maintenant à l’aide de l’alphabet latin. Les substantifs issus du tadjik ont fait l’objet d’une transcription phonétique en caractères latins.

Origine du mot
Persan (chor=quatre, po=pied)
Utilisé en tadjik et en ouzbek
Plateau + accotoirs sur 2 ou 3 côtés. Le mot est présent dans l’urdu sous la forme charpoy où il désigne un châlit de sangles tressées
Seuri, seurikhona
Plateau simple sans accotoir, idem avec rideaux.
Large lit en bois.
Aïwan (ayvon)
utilisé en tadjik et en ouzbek
Désigne un palais, un porche monumental, mais aussi un auvent (jolie similitude phonétique), ce qui le qualifie pour désigner le tapchane dans sa version la plus aboutie, composé d’un plateau, de quatre colonnes et d’un toit. Un petit palais ?
Soufa (sofa)
Arabe (banquette) et turc (estrade recouverte d’un tapis). Le mot serait-il lié au stoupa (mot qui vient du sanskrit où il désigne à l’origine un tumulus) comme le prétend Mourodkhon, pour passer ensuite du sanskrit à l’arabe, puis au turc et au français ?
Terrasse en terre ou en pierres. Le substantif est utilisé au Musée des Arts décoratifs de Tachkent pour désigner le tapchane exposé. C’est donc le mot qui convient en Ouzbek pour désigné le tapchane classique.
Turcique (mongolo-tatar) entré dans la langue russe
Châlit selon la traduction du russe.
Du russe où il désigne un lit
Utilisé parfois pour désigner un tapchane.

Inde, Rajasthan, Samode, Samode Bagh, charpoy, © L. Gigout, 2017
Vous avez dit "charpoy" ? Ici en Inde, dans le complexe hôtelier Samode Bagh à Samode, Rajasthan en mars 2017.

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