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A Tush Transhumance

Shepherds and sheep on their way to Tusheti

In the spring of 2010, Pierre Jeanmougin — a young French photographer — accompanied a "brigade" of Tush shepherds on their long, twice-yearly journey to ferry their flocks of sheep between the mountains (summer) and the plains (winter).

This epic seasonal migration is the defining activity of what it means to be Tush, and every spring thousands of sheep — accompanied by hundreds of fierce Caucasian sheepdogs and scores of shepherds — are taken from their winter pastures in Shiraki (on the border between Georgia and Azerbaijan) up through Kakheti and over the snowclad 3,000m-high Abano pass into Tusheti — an isolated region in the very heart of the Caucasus mountains.

Divided into three parts (the plains, the mountains, and portraits) and with very interesting captions (in French — alas! for non-francophones), his photographs perfectly illustrate the wonders and hardships of a Tush shepherd's life.