Bukhara will acquire the status of a world city of artisans

The delegation of Uzbekistan, headed by the deputy chairman of the “Hunarmand” Association, Aziz Murtazaev, took part in the forum in Malaysia on November 16 this year.

delegation of Uzbekistan
delegation of Uzbekistan

The World Council of Artisans of the Asia-Pacific Region is the largest regional branch of the World Council of Artisans, which operates under the auspices of UNESCO. It includes more than 45 countries, including Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
As part of the forum, the World Biennale in the field of eco-fiber and textiles, as well as an exhibition and fashion show on the theme “Clothing and Cultural Identity” were held.

“Clothing and Cultural Identity”
“Clothing and Cultural Identity”

Biennale participants were introduced to the technique and centuries-old traditions of weaving ikat, khan-atlas and adras. It is emphasized that the Uzbek ikat is one of the most environmentally friendly textile products, as it is made exclusively by hand, using organic dyes.

During the meetings, the parties discussed the establishment of bilateral cooperation of Uzbek hunarmands with Malaysian artisans in the field of exchange of experience, as well as the organization of their exhibitions abroad and Uzbekistan.

As a result of the negotiations, an agreement was reached on the beginning of joint work to provide the city of Bukhara with the status of a world city of artisans.

Crafts of Bukhara city
For many centuries Bukhara has been a center for the development of handicraft production. With the acquisition of independence in the region, active work is underway to revive the following types of crafts: blacksmith craft, silk weaving, wood carving, carpet weaving, gold embroidery and others.

Blacksmith craft

Blacksmith craft
Blacksmith craft

The blacksmith craft is considered as respected and prestigious. The smiths were traditionally credited with magical and healing powers (especially when you consider that there were many gypsy – luli among the smiths). Quite often patients came to the forge. They were present during the work, brought with them a jug of boiled water, where the master threw a piece of hot metal – water with silver ions has bactericidal properties. The amazing properties of “silver” water were reported by Herodotus, mentioning that in the VI century B.C. the Persian king Cyrus during the campaigns kept water in silver vessels, thereby improving its quality. Perhaps, along with the metal, the blacksmith added flint to the water (the healing properties of flint water have been proven by science). Drinking such a liquid, the patient was cured. We managed to find evidence of such a practice in one of the coppersmith rice, which did not contain technological information, but was almost entirely devoted to the instructions of a healer. Healing methods are still used by Bukhara blacksmiths, for example, in the treatment of “Temiratki” disease (allergic skin rashes). Blacksmiths expel this disease with heated metal, passing it over the surface of the skin. This procedure is usually performed on Wednesdays and Saturdays by an experienced blacksmith who recites three verses “kursi”.

Silk weaving

Silk weaving
Silk weaving

Silk-weaving originated many centuries ago. Bukhara became its center, eventually moving to the city of Margilan, where it glorified the Ferghana Valley. Colorful fabric was transported along the Silk Road to Egypt, Baghdad, Kashgar and Greece.

The manual work of making Khan’s silk is very laborious and extremely complicated. Initially, it is necessary to extract the finest threads from the silkworm cocoon. Then you need to apply the pattern, dyeing the threads. For staining, only herbal ingredients were used. For example, to get blue, indigo was used, red was madder, and yellow was evaporated. Other natural dyes were also used, which gave the threads a rich, lasting color. A vague pattern called “abr” cloud was obtained due to a special technology by which the threads were dyed before weaving. The production method by special dressing of threads before dyeing was called ikat. After all, the product had a unique pattern with fuzzy edges.

Khan-atlas was very expensive and could be bought only by wealthy people, but over time it became more accessible and almost every girl was able to wear clothes from this silk. At present, this manual art has begun to fade into the background and the fabric began to be made in weaving mills by applying paint on already woven fabric.

Wood carving

Wood carving
Wood carving

Wood carving in Bukhara arose as ornaments of wooden columns, which were widely used in the ancient architecture of Uzbekistan. Later, artistic carving was presented on various wooden objects, ranging from massive columns and beams for the ceiling to tiny children’s amulets.

Since ancient times, objects made of wood traditional for the East were: caskets – kuticha, bookends – laukh, carved tables. All of them generously convey all the richness of a traditional floral geometric ornament. Carvers used the wood of such trees as elm, walnut, plane tree, juniper, mulberry.

Carpet weaving

Carpet weaving
Carpet weaving

Bukhara carpets at all times were colorful, variegated pattern and high pile.
It is known for certain that for the manufacture of such carpets only the spring longest and softest wool of plain sheep was traditionally taken. After all, it was believed that sheep’s wool and products made of it could cure many diseases.

To dye the fiber, exclusively natural dyes were used: oak bark, walnut and pomegranate, which gave saturated colors from black to beige-golden, and moraine root was used to obtain the famous red palette.

About the ornaments of Bukhara carpets can tell eternity. Here, stylized solar signs, and argali horns, and tumors – are peculiar amulets designed to protect the owner from an evil eye and life’s adversities. Images of people in the form of geometric and rhombic figures are also popular, very often there are images of the so-called “Garden of Eden” – a favorite theme of all Uzbek carpets and specific octagons surrounded by stars – a traditional Bukhara pattern.

Golden embroidery

Golden embroidery
Golden embroidery

In contrast, the silk embroidery, which was dealt only by women, only men have long been gold seamstresses. This craft reached its peak in Bukhara by the middle of the 19th century, where it was specially mastered to decorate the outfits of the ruler and his retinue.

Gold and silver threads embroidered dressing gowns for men, turban and skullcaps, shoes, as well as women’s clothing: dresses and dressing gowns, headbands – peshanabands, various shawls, shoes and boots. Also, gold embroidery interspersed with small gems abundantly decorated horse blankets and the palace interior.

The perfection of the compositional construction of patterns and its technical performance were achieved as follows. A stencil of the part was drawn on a like, then cut out, attached to a stretched fabric and sewn up with precious threads. For each product, a specific embroidery stitch was used: “zaminduzi” – continuous sewing, “gulduzi” – sewing according to the cut out pattern on a clean background, as well as over thirty more known seams.

Today, gold embroidery is owned far beyond the borders of Bukhara and mainly by women. Large-scale works are created with their hands – theater curtains, huge wall panels, various souvenirs, and this technique is also widely used in the production of modern clothes.