Bukhara is one of the most fascinating cities in Central Asia with buildings spanning 1000 years of history. Most of the center is an architectural preserve and the streets are lined with madrasahs and old bazaars. The center of Bukhara has always been a vast marketplace with dozens of special bazaars and caravans arais, scores of madrasahs and hundreds of mosques There are almost 140 protected.. buildings now. The gold embroidery of Bukhara is a miracle among various kinds of Applied-Art (tracery-carving and painting on faience and wood, artistic metal working and leather working, carpet-making, artistic embroidery, ceramics and jewellery). The art of gold embroidery was popular in the ancient states of Asia: Assyria, Babylon, Persia, China, India, Byzantine. Later it spread to states of Western Europe and Turkey, Afganistan. In Western Europe gold embroidery manufacture was in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain. This art has spread among the peoples of the Caucasus: Georgians, Armenians, Azerbaijanians and Dagestans.
Gold embroidery in Central Asia: in Uzbekistan and Tadjikistan has a more ancient history. Archaeologists have found traces of gold embroidery on women’s clothes dating back to the I and II centuries AD.
In the X th — XVI th centuries a great amount of historical evidence attests to the high development of gold embroidery in Samarkand, Bukhara and Herat. The Spanish ambassador
Klavikho who visited Samarkand at the beginning of the XV th century wrote that “One of the fences was covered with red material embroidered in gold. Doors and arches were also decorated with gold needlework. The costume of one of the grandchildren of Timur was made out of blue atlas decorated with gold images like wheels”.
Since the XVI th — XVII th centuries the centre of gold embroidery in Central Asia has been Bukhara. Among the outstanding masters of gold embroidery during that period was the Bukharan Fitrat — zarduz (1664–1721), the famous poet, a very clever and decent person. In the XIX th century this precious artwork of Bukhara expanded greatly at the magnificent palace of the emir, the custom of presenting the courtiers with golden sown robes, keeping goldensewn clothes and various kinds of foot-wear for the guests and ambassadors, promoted the development of this valuable handicraft. In the Arc, the winter residence of the Bukhara emirs, a large gold needlework court workshop was organized where the most popular embroidery masters worked. The famous aksakal of..gold embroidery during the reign of the last Emir Alim-Khan was usto (master) Mirzo-Hayot.On the whole, mainly men were engaged in this craft. Many masters taught there wives and daughters to sew. Literary sources say that the masters asked their daughters and wives for help when they had much work to do. Traditionally the process of teaching golden-sewing was primarily done through relatives, boys who were attracted to this work. Teaching lasted for years; acquiring the handicraft, the pupil was given the title of “Usto” (master). After the revolution the art fell into decay because of the absence of demand and new materials. Only since 1930 artels and producing departments were createdagain. In the 1960 a gold embroidery factory was opened. Now over 400 masters, mainly women work at this factory: Makhsuma Akhmedova, Honoured Worker of art and Muyassar Temirova, Peoples Painter of Uzbekistan are considered to be talented and popular masters of golden-sewing manufacture. At present, mainly, women’s clothes (dresses, waistcoats, kerchiefs, waistbands, shoes and band-bags) are decorated with gold embroidery. There is a large demand for the traditional wedding robes and accessories of scull — caps and shoes. The following kinds of gold embroidery are traditional: “zarduzi- zaminduzi” (complete all — round design)and zarduzi-qulduzi (figured design). Very many design and ornaments are used in the sewing. Usually masters have stencils.
Gold embroidery is an uncommon art and has a special place in the life of Uzbek people. Bukharan gold embroidery has become a popular art.
COPPER ENGRAVING ART
Uzbekistan is famous as one of the centers of the world culture. That’s why such towns as Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva are called pearls of the East like the stars of the enlightenment in the sky.
Great poets, scientists, painters and architects lived and created there. The masters left masterpieces of applied art. People may visit the art museum and find themselves in the atmosphere of original culture of Uzbeks. They will be surrounded by the open-work carving and painting on faience and wood, by bright colour of suzane and carpets, by the dazzling brilliancy of the gold embroidery and by the remarkable designs of ceramics and terracotta. They will admire the fantastic ornamental copper-chased articles. They will find chaydjush (samovar, jugs for boiling water), ot'toba and dast-shui (wash-hand-stand), trays and dishes of various designs. Before, articles made of copper could be found in every Uzbek family. As manufacturing developed, metal dishes were not sed by the people, that’s why copper engraved articles are often Ibund in the museums, but in he houses they are often kept for decoration, The investigation of the scientists show the high standard ot engraving on copper in the territory of Uzbekistan. It has a centuries old history. The main centers of engraving from the Vmth untill XV th centuries were Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva. Seven-melting metal “haftdjum” was used as coinage (haftdjum was melting or silver, iron red-copper, zinc, lead and tin). Haftdjum had a rich golden darkbrown color. In the XVIth-XVIIth centuries seven-melting passed to coin, red and yellow copper was used instead of haftdjum which has been used until now. Sometimes there was a temporary decline in the art chasing. In the XIVth-XVth centuries it was resumed and now the decorative design of that time has been preserved.
Among copper engraving centers, especially Bukhara, was famous because it has preserved the traditional ornament. In the center of the town not far from the famous town Kalvan, in the row of braziers and chasers the tapping of the hammers “kandakor” could be heard from morning until sunset. Masters usually used special compasses, chisels of different sizes, little hammers and axes with halves curved and thickened at the end.
Famous ornamental design of the Uzbek engraving is the “islimi” of vegetable flower designs. These are the “madjnuntal (weeping willow), the “chashmi bulbul” (the nightingale eyes), and the “khurshid” (sun rays). They cover the whole plate or tray like a splendid carpet.
These designs are unimaginable in their beauty. The technique “Mabaka” is very effective here, because cover and foot of the vessel are cut by delicate instruments.
Nowadays copper-engraving has developed in a new way. Famous master Salimdjon Khamidov greatly contributed to the development of the copper-engraving. He enhanced the traditional composition by new methods of designs and ornaments and has included the representation of architectural memorials and portraits to copper-chasing. Usto (master) Salimdjon Khamidov created many remarkable works of art and trained a group of talented apprentices (disciples). They are honoured masters now who are the members of the Union of Painters of this country: T.Kasimov, R.Kuliyev, S.Mukhsinov, D.Rakhimov and many others.
Young chasers.disciples of this ancient art, learn secrets of this handicraft from these masters. This lovely melody, as though out in copper itself; keeps ringing (sounding) until now.
THE ART OF CERAMICS
Ceramics is one of the main kinds of handicrafts among decorative — applied art in Uzbekistan. The term “ceramics” has come from a Greek word “keramos” which means “clay”. Ceramics refers to articles produced out of clay burned until they are in the state of a stone. There are different kinds of ceramics. The main kinds are kaolin (china porcelain clay), faience (pottery), majolica and terracotta. They differ in the structure of ceramic clay and in the way of creating the object. The first ceramic vessel had thick walls, a porous body with a round or conic bottom. Such a bottom made the vessel steady while placing it on the ground. Such articles were burned in a bonfire or in stoves where the temperature reached 800 or 900.
In the Neolithic period the forms and the sizes or vessels became varied. Ceramics were decorated with ornaments, elements which had magical connotations. It is important to recognize that the initial stages of development of ornaments in the world were connected with ceramics. Little by little the representation of the animals and the fmure of man in the decoration of vessels can be observed.
The invention of the patter’s wheel was an extremely important step in the development of the handicraft. The usage of the patter’s wheel considerably improved the quality of the handicraft. The invention of the coloured glaze was remarkable achievement of the ceramic producers, giving the handicraft brilliancy and water brightness. All these articles made out of red and yellow clay belong to terracotta and majolica.
Such kinds of ceramics as faience and kaolin (china) were produced considerably later. The first (china) producers were Chinese masters in the Vlth-VIIth centuries. The first Chinese articles (vases, jugs, dishes and boxes) were thin transparent and durable. They clattered clearly. The Chinese masters kept a secret of producing kaolin (china). Marco Polo brought some of this China handicraft to Europe. Even though he had lived in China for 15 years he wasn’t able to find the secret of producing it. In the 1747 the Russia ceramic producer D. I. Vinogradov found the secret of producing China handicraft.By that time Uzbekistan was famous with its fine ceramics. The variety of ceramic handicraft is rich where clay is used not only for producing dishes and souvenirs, but if the material is good it is also used for the construction of houses and stoves as well. Stoves (tandir) are used for baking bread.
The ceramic centers of Uzbekistan are Gijduvan, Samarkand, Tashkent, Khiva, Rishtan and others. Uzbek ceramic producers are experimenting on l lie restoration of forgotten handicraft and on the perfecting of famous technological and decorative methods of pottery in these ceramic centres.
UZBEK CARVED EARTHENWARE
One of the most ancient kinds of applied art in Uzbekistan is carving on earthenware. Early patterns of this carved pottery can be seen in the palaces of Toprakkal’a in Khorazm and Varakhsha near Bukhara. The first was built in the third century AD, the second during the VI th — VIII th centuries. Carving on the facing of palace walls was done in proximity with sculpture which represented winged horses, tigers and birds. The sculpture and carving together with the ornamental composition represent a fine synthesis, the merging of both the Hellenistic and Central Asian styles of art.
In the VIII th century both arts as a science and literature in the territory of Central Asia suffered radical changes. It was connected with reception of the religious-philosophical teachings of Islam. During this period great achievements of Eastern science, especially mathematics took place. In the X th century a new style of architectural ornament came into being. This brought world-wide fame to Central Asian architecture. The designs and ornaments of carved art were closely connected with the development of architecture. The main introduction was the geometry of designs and the submission of the vegetable forms to mathematic “proper”. The main ornamental motifs became girikh (it is the Arabian word which means “knot”), and islimi, which means flower and vegetable ornament. While carving earthenware, the two were used together.
The classic pattern in the use of the new designs and methods of carving are various panels in the palace Afrasiab which was built near Samarkand in the X th — XI th centuries. The geometric and vegetable motifs of designs are a single whole. In the following centuries and until now “girikh” and “islimi are the main kinds of ornaments found on Uzbek monuments. Little by little carving earthenware has been used not only in the architecture of public places, but in the interior of apartment buildings and private homes. In some cases it has acquired its own separate value.
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