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Uzbekistan Art and Handicrafts

The Revival of Ancient Uzbek Crafts

Ancient Uzbek CraftsThe history of Uzbek arts and crafts can be compared to the flow of the Central Asian rivers Syr Darya and Amu Darya. The upper reaches of these rivers lie high in the mountains, in the land of glaciers and fogs. At the mountain foot the streams meet to form rapid rivers, which rush to the plains where they finally slow down irrigating fields and feeding reservoirs. Similarly, the history of Uzbek arts and crafts began centuries ago, undergoing both rapid and slow periods of development. But the chain of those development stages has never broken - the artistic tradition has always been maintained.

The blue ceramics of Uzbekistan

blue ceramics of UzbekistanFrom ancient times the people of Uzbekistan have treated water and earth as sacred objects. Under hot Asian sun there is no life without water. Earth is the life-giving source, the origin of everything; and even the first man, Adam, as Koran says, was also made of clay. At all times the people inhabiting this land were making from clay their own world. Adobe and baked bricks were used to construct fortresses, temples and dwellings. In round clay stoves called tandir they baked lepioshka - round flat bread. In pre-Islamic epoch clay idols protected the family from any kind of troubles; toy-whistles were made from clay for children; clay was irreplaceable material for making plates and dishes.

Uzbek musical instrumentsUzbek musical instruments

Overriding the street noise, the blaring inviting karnay sounds are being heard above the city. People are in a hurry having heard this invitation for celebrations: for wedding ceremony in mahalla, or may be for the opening of a new exebition. Everybody knows that karnay is one of the most ancient Uzbek musical instruments, but just a few are aware that in the Middle Ages it was a military signal instrument.

Uzbek Carpets that warm the heart ...

Uzbek Carpets"Сarpets warm your heart and please your eyes". This saying expresses in the best way possible the significance of carpet weaving art for the Uzbek people. There would be no house in Uzbekistan without carpets. By tradition that developed in antiquity, carpets have always been an important part of dwelling decoration, often replacing furniture. Carpets have been used to cover the floor and to decorate the walls, and their artistic values have always been appreciated no less than their functional properties.

Uzbek Suzane: home adornment and protection

Uzbek SuzaneFinding himself in a traditional Uzbek house for the first time, a westerner will be involuntarily amazed. First of all, he will wonder at almost total lack of furniture. A patterned oriental tapis or a tufted carpet on the floor, blankets – kurpacha and pillows laid together in wall niches, a trunk decorated with engraving and a low little table khan-takhta make almost all the furniture of the room. Another important part of family life decoration is large big embroidered wall panels - suzane hanging out on the walls.

Tubeteika suits everybodyTubeteika - skull-cap

Tubeteika (skull-cap) can become suitable attire for both gray hair of a sage and the braids of a bride. It has always enjoyed people's favour. Popular maxims say, "Tubeteika does not weigh heavy upon a dzhigit (young man)", "When there is no one to talk to, tubeteika becomes a good company". Tubeteika, a round slightly pointed skull-cap beautifully decorated with embroidered or applique patterns, is the national head-dress throughout Central Asia.

Uzbek National Dress

Uzbek National Dress"Clothes make the man", as the saying goes. While meeting people, it is indeed their clothes we pay attention to in the first place. If a person is dressed tastefully, it certainly makes a good impression on anyone around. And it is well-known that first impressions are the strongest. So everyone wants to dress beautifully, and it was like this at all times. Even oriental women, who used to be secluded from public view, tried to decorate their yashmaks - though the purpose of yashmak was to conceal woman's appearance.

Gold Embroidery in UzbekistanGold Embroidery in Uzbekistan

For centuries Bukhara has boasted fine jewelers, engravers, ceramists and tailors. Yet it is the art of gold embroidery that has made Bukhara famous worldwide. Gold embroidery was quite a common craft in the world. It was known in the countries of Hellinistic Asia and Western Europe, in Caucasus, in Turkey and Afghanistan.

The poetics of carved woodwood carving

While traveling round Uzbekistan it is unlikely that one can meet a traditional Uzbek house without wooden decorations. Since ancient times wood has been highly valued and respected by the local craftsmen who have demonstrated genuine mastery of wood carving.

A silver song of metal

uzbek embossEmbossing is a noble craft. To compare an embosser with an ordinary tinsmith is the same as to compare the cabinet-maker with the carpenter. To produce a jug – oftoba the embosser should master the art of founding, blacksmithing, chasing, engraving, carving and tinning. In addition to household applicability, the embossed copper and brass ware was always appreciated in Uzbekistan, first of all, for its artistic features. It decorated the shelves of open fitted cupboards and indicated prosperity and affluence of the owner.

Souvenirs from UzbekistanSouvenirs from Uzbekistan

On returning home every traveler tries to obtain something as a keepsake reminiscent of the countries and people visited. A souvenir made by the hands of a master of traditional arts and crafts can stir up vivid memories of culture and history of the visited country. It is a common fact that the base of many private art collections is made up of souvenirs brought from abroad. During a tour around Uzbekistan, "the golden section" of the Great Silk Road, tourists are usually deeply impressed by the majestic architectural monuments of Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Bukhara and Khiva, which are inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage List. So what to choose as a memory token in an art-shop or artisan shop?

Jeweler's magic - like art

Jeweler's art is one of the most ancient on the earth. Initially jewelry was used not merely as adornment; it also served a magical purpose as was believed to have magic properties able to protect the wearer from evil spirits. The earliest adornments found in Uzbekistan date back to the 12th century B. C. In a burial ground located in the upper reaches of the Chirchik river there were excavated bronze bracelets with triangular inlaid patterns and ornaments in the form of cosmological spirals. Of great historical and cultural value are gold and silver religious objects, bracelets, finger-rings and necklaces from so-called Amu Darya treasure discovered in 1877 upstream the Amu Darya river. They vividly evidence the fact that as early as the 5th century B. C. the skill of Bactrian handicraftsmen achieved the perfection of a true art.