The revival of ancient handicrafts: gold embroidery and decorative needle work in Uzbekistan
Шомуродова М. Ф. The revival of ancient handicrafts: gold embroidery and decorative needle work in Uzbekistan // Молодой ученый. 2015. №10. С. 1515-1518.
Bukhara is one of the most fascinating cities in Central Asia with buildings spanning 1000 years of history. Most of the centre is an architectural preserve and the streets are lined with a madrasahs and old bazaars. The centre of Bukhara has always been a vast marketplace with dozens of specialist bazaars and caravanserais, scores of madrasas and hundreds of mosques. There are some 140 protected buildings now. The gold embroidery of Bukhara is a miracle among various kinds of Applied-Arts (tracery-carving and painting on faience and wood, artistic metal working and leather working, carpet-making, artistic embroidery ceramics and jewelry). The art of gold embroidery was popular in the ancient states of Asia: Babylon, Persia, China, India. Later it spread to states of Western Europe and Turkey, Afghanistan. In Western Europe gold embroidery manufacture was in Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain. This art has spread among the peoples of Caucasus. 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 first-second centuries AD. In the X-XVI centuries a great amount of historical evidence attests to the high development of gold embroidery in Samarkand, Bukhara and Herat. The Spanish ambassador Klavico who visited Samarkand at the beginning of the XV 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 Temur was made out of blue atlas decorated with gold images like wheels.”  Since the XV-XVII 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, the famous poet, a very clever and decent person. In the XVX century this precious artwork of Bukhara expanded greatly at the magnificent palace of the emir, the custom of presenting the countries with gold sewn robes, keeping golden sewn clothes and various kinds of foot-wear for guests and ambassadors, promoted the development of this valuable handcraft. 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 their 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 primary done through relatives, boys who were attracted to this work. Teaching lasted for years, acquiring the handcraft; the pupil was given the title of “Usto” (master). After the revolution the art fell into decay because of the absence of demand and raw materials. The fabrics and yarns used in traditional embroidery vary from place to place. Wool, linen, and silk have been in use for thousands of years for both fabric and yarn. Today, embroidery thread is manufactured in cotton, rayon, and novelty yarns as well as in traditional wool, linen, and silk. Ribbon embroidery uses narrow ribbon in silk or silk/organza blend ribbon, most commonly to create floral motifs. Surface embroidery techniques such as chain stitch and couching or laid-work are the most economical of expensive yarns; couching is generally used for goldwork. Canvas work techniques, in which large amounts of yarn are buried on the back of the work, use more materials but provide a sturdier and more substantial finished textile. In both canvas work and surface embroidery an embroidery hoop or frame can be used to stretch the material and ensure even stitching tension that prevents pattern distortion. Modern canvas work tends to follow symmetrical counted stitching patterns with designs emerging from the repetition of one or just a few similar stitches in a variety of hues. In contrast, many forms of surface embroidery make use of a wide range of stitching patterns in a single piece of work. Only since 1930 artels and producing departments were created again. In the 1960 a gold embroidery factory was opened. Over 400 masters, mainly women worked at the factory. At present, mainly, women’s clothes, especially bride’s clothes (dresses, waistcoats, kerchiefs, waistbands, shoes and hand-bags) are decorated with gold embroidery and they are considered unique clothes of the time. There is a large demand for the traditional wedding robes and the accessories of scull-caps and shoes. The following kind of gold embroidery is traditional: “zarduzi-zaminduzi” and “zarduzi-gulduzi”. Very many designs and ornaments are used in the sewing. Usually masters have stencils. Gold embroidery is an uncommon art and has special place in the life of Uzbek people. Bukharian gold embroidery has become a popular art. Decorative needle-work is one of the popular kinds of applied arts in Uzbekistan. The popularity of decorative needle-work is proved by the historical customs and traditions of the Uzbek people. Women’s clothes, household articles and embroidered things (towels, blankets, pillow-cases, etc.) have always made up the obligatory part of the dowry of the bride. The women were traditionally engaged in this decorative embroidery, especially grandmothers taught their granddaughters to sew decorative embroidery. The masters embroidered on the cotton fabric and silk with silk thread colored with natural dye, later with chemicals. Graphic artists worked on design and the stencils of their designs passed from generation to generation. When embroidering they used the following kinds of stitches: “basma,” embroidering in satin-stitch; “yurma” chain-stitch needle-work, “eroki” cross-halfcross; “khamduzi” double-sided satin-stitch; The character of designs and ornaments, kind of stitches, the form, the size of embroidered objects differed from each other. In every locality of the region there were special peculiarities of embroidery. There are the following kinds of embroidery now: “gulkori,” “parpech,” “choishab,” “suzani,” “zardevor” and many other kinds of embroidery styles. “Palvak” is an Arabic word “Falyak”. It is popular Tashkent embroidery which is hang on the wall. the main design of “Falyak” is called six-moon, nine-moon and twelve-moon. “Gulkurpa”, word for word translation is flower blanket, is popular in Tashkent. Until the XX century gulkurpa was covered for the blanket of the young couple, but now it is used as decorative wall embroidery. In Fergana embroidery with green, yellow and violet colors is used for the blankets called “ustun choishab” or “tag choishab.” The Bukhara “suzani” is also beautiful. The composition of embroidery is wide: embroidered meadows, gardens, ornaments, designees. Methods of the embroidery are different; they are “basma” and “chain-stitch.” Samarkand “suzane” includes rhythm of ornaments and designs. Selected colors together with the designs give the embroidery unique sight. Jizzak embroidery is familiar to them. These facts show that every locality has its own peculiarities in embroidery. The delicate taste of the embroideries is observed in produced skull-caps. Boysun, Shakhrisyabs, Marghilan and Chust skull-caps are popular and famous with their rich decorative trim. Especially, Chust skull-caps are valued where four white figured elements are sewn. These figures are “kalampur” (pepper) and “bodom” (almond) which are embroidered on the black fabric. Shakhrisabs and Kitab carpet-like embroidered skull-caps are called “eroki.” Bukhara skull-caps are also famous. Skillful embroideries decorate various objects of household: tobacco-pouch knapsack for tea, stamp, comb, knives “kordu-band”, and patterned braid called “Jiyak” and many others. The patterned variety of decorative embroidery in Uzbekistan is delightful with its harmony. The national art of this land displays a great wealth of creativity .
Ceremonial clothes had been divided into wedding and funeral. Girl's dowry was ready long before the wedding. Fabrics and clothes, alongside with different material goods, home appliances, were included in dowry. Biggest attraction in wedding clothes was drawn to white color, as the symbol of happiness; special white cotton dress was sewed for wedding. Usually cut of the dress was made tunica like with popular at that period style of neckband. Dress was made very long (to the ankles) with long and wide sleeves, covering hands. White dresses are still saved. Head was covered with white shawl, sometimes embroidered. Wedding wide trousers were made in tunica form from silk, cotton fabrics and mostly from khan-atlas. New footwear ichigi and shoes were worn during wedding ceremony. During the visit of fiancée house, future wife had worn yashmak or robe, face was covered with light net (Samarkand, Bukhara). On the second day of wedding, during the kelin salom ceremony, fiancée had placed shawl on her right hand. That shawl was embroidered with patterns (Samarkand). Fiancée dowry had included from the 15th to 20th solemnity dresses (with usual cut — tunica). Dresses were made of local and imported fabrics. Halat-mursak, camisole or nimcha were worn over the dress. Men's wedding costume was simpler and monotone. White shirts and pants, white chalm and tubeteyka. Quilted robe of local fabric was worn over it, and was supported with belt belbog. Footwear was made of leather, boots mostly.. Wedding dresses were made with accordance with social status: poor families sewed clothes from handmade cotton fabric, rich families — from half-silk, silk and imported expensive material — farangi. Funeral clothes of Uzbeks were worn by women, men hadn't any funeral costumes. When any relative died, women had sewed dress of dark or black colour for three days. Forth day was marked with ceremony of dressing and special treating was organized. That day was called as kuk kiydi. In accordance with irim, ends of sleeves and hem weren't sewed. In a year, funeral dresses were taken off and special ceremony of white dress putting on was carried out. That dress was called as ok kiydi. In Tashkent and Fergana valley mursak was worn over the dress, which was belted. Nowadays mursak is only used for coffin covering.In Samarkand funeral clothes for women were prepared from early times. The set had included dresses, mursak, shawl, ichigi and shoes. In other regions of Uzbekistan such custom didn't existed.Nomadic dervishes had worn quilted robe zhanda, sharp-form cap kuloh and wide embroidered belt kamar. Custom, based on Islam, had forbidden adults to walk with non-covered head. In warm time of the year, not only indoor, but outdoor, men had worn tubeteykas, called as duppi, kalpak, kallapush, etc.There are different tubeteykas: sharp-ended, conic form, half-spherical, flat-bottomed, round, four-sided and so on. Tubeteykas were made of fabric and were decorated with gold, silver and silk embroidering. Mens' tubeteykas were made of black satin, velvet, womens' or multicolour silk, gold-threaded or brocade. The form of tubeteykas was first sharp, made for wearing under chalma, with wide frame of cap-band. Later, forms of tubeteykas had changed: top became round or square, frame on cap-band became narrower. Fergana volley and Tashkent were filled with tubeteykas of chust style: chust-dupli with pattern of capsicum kalampir of almond bodom, embroidered with white threads on black background, those patterns were grouped in a form of arch on the cap-band. Multicolour tubeteykas with continues seam iroki was very popular too. Tubeteykas, decorated with Iroki Sea, similar to gilam-duppi style were popular in Kashkadarya region; piltaduzi style of tubeteykas was popular in Surhandarya region. Velvet tubeteykas were also popular in Tashkent, alongside with embroidered ones. One of kinds of tubeteyka — shobpush. It was made of cotton fabric, stitched be hand or on special machine. Shobpush were worn in winter under cap or were worn at night. Some representatives of aristocracy clergy and very old men had worn kulah — high round cap, sewed from four or triangular pieces of fabric. In summer, village population of Fergana volley prefered wearing hats of Kirgiz style — kalpok, sewed from white felt, in winter — fur cap (fur inside) — tumok, similar to Kazakh. Uzbeks of Khorezm region had worn chugurma — big round flat cap, made from wool of sheep with long waving wool. Chugurma quilted base has a form of felt cap. In winter tekpak (round fur cap) was worn over tubeteyka. Fur cap in a form of cone was popular in Bukhara oasis. Its upper part was made of karakul; edges were decorated with otter fur. Cap was usually attached with sheep fur. Caps, upper part of which was sewed from three or four pieces of fabric (usually black velvet) and base was decorated with fox, marten or lambskin fur, were popular in Fergana volley and Tashkent.  Of course, those caps were made for rich people, most people had worn chalms or wrapped belt over tubeteyka. Chalma sajla was made of cotton, half-wool fabrics and muslin dock, often from expensive fabrics. Every social group had its' special way of wrapping chalma. There were special people for that in Bukhara and that activity was considered as skill. While work and indoor chalma was substituted with belt of piece of fabric. In the 19th — beginning of the 20th century’s chalms were worn by teenagers, later it became compulsory headgear for old men and praying young men. People of old age had worn chalma of white colour, and middle age — gray, young — colourful. Colourful chalms were also worn by adult men.
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