Uzbek jewelry art
“Do not show your mother to your father without jewelry…”
Going on a tour of Uzbekistan, one cannot but visit the ancient cities of the country. Every wanderer knows that if you want to find jewelry of stunning beauty, then you should go to Samarkand, Khiva, Kokand and Bukhara. From time immemorial, the jewelers of these cities were famous for their art of making ornaments of silver, gold, precious and semiprecious stones. Of course, you can buy jewelry in the capital of Uzbekistan, but whoever refuses to see the majestic cities of the country, admire their greatness and pristine beauty.
Secrets of Uzbek jewelry art are passed on from generation to generation, so modern technologies and ancient national patterns are combined in products. Products impress not only with their amazing appearance, but also with variety: bracelets, rings, earrings, necklaces, headdresses, belts. Every resident or a guest of the city will certainly find Uzbek jewellery to his taste. No one will leave empty-handed!
Ornaments told of the prosperity, the family, to which it belongs, of the marital status. Moreover, the younger the girl, the brighter and more elegant her jewelry "attire" was. Amulets and talismans, rings and pendants, necklaces and bracelets of various shapes and sizes were also endowed with the ability to drive away the evil spirits that young women so feared.
Many Uzbeks believe that jewelry with natural stones serve as talismans and bring good luck. For example, silver protects from evil spirits, protects from poison and symbolizes purity. Pearl - heals from serious illnesses and gives strength. Turquoise brings good luck in business. Carnelian stone, Uzbeks call it khakik, bestows health and happiness. Many other stones and metals were also endowed with magical properties.
Thanks to the painstaking and skillful work of the masters, the jewelry art of Uzbekistan continues to develop. The traditions of forefathers, combined with the skill of modern masters, continue to live in delicious and unique jewelry.
Historical facts about jewelry finds in Uzbekistan
The earliest jewelry found on the territory of Uzbekistan is attributed to the time, when there was not yet Bukhara, Tashkent or Samarkand.
The most ancient find was discovered at the sources of the Chirchik river. There were bracelets from bronze, on which cosmological spirals were depicted. No less interesting is the Amudarya treasure, which represents unique products of Bactrian jewelers who lived in the 5th century BC. There is a truly sensational find from the settlement of Dalverzintepe in the Surkhandarya region: there were found a huge number of Uzbekistan gold and silver jewelry.
Near Termez at the site of the ancient settlement of Balalyktepe there is a wall painting of the 6th century with scenes of feasting. The noble ladies depicted gold rings and earrings with pendants, reminiscent of the traditional jewelry of modern Uzbek women.
Images of jewelry are found on other early medieval murals from Afrosiab, as well as on ancient (two thousand years old) antique sculptures and small plastic.
History of jewelry in Uzbekistan
The origins of the birth of Uzbekistan's jewelry art are lost in the depths of millennia. At the beginning of the XIX century jewelry art appears in all its ethnographic characteristics, in a wide variety of forms, materials, techniques and types of products.
In the XIX - early XX, jewelry production covered many types of art crafts. Zargars (Uzbek masters-jewelers) made filigree finishes for scabbards and dagger arms, details of horse equipment and men's belts with overhead and gold plated plates and plaques with inlay with precious stones. But their main occupation was the manufacture of a variety of women's jewelry.
In addition to jewelry, the masters decorated weapons, falconry, richly ornamented dishes and small household products made of precious metals. Jewelers participated in the design of leather bindings for manuscripts with metal slots and clasps.
Material for jewelry in the XIX - early XX centuries were such metals as gold, more often silver, less often alloys such as electra, bronze; gems - ruby, garnet, beryl; colored stones - turquoise, carnelian, lapis lazuli; marine fossils - coral, pearls, shells of kauri; colored glass.
In the first half of the XIX century throughout Central Asia jewelry was made from silver. Gold items were made only in the khan's palaces and, mainly, in the palaces of the Bukhara emir. The Uzbek jewelers worked mainly on the local aristocracy - the nobility, the clergy, the merchants, who formed the main circle of customers of valuable jewelry.
At the end of the XIX - XX century in the Uzbek jewelry art can be traced two trends. The first trend was closely associated with the traditions of folk art, and the second one was guided by the tastes of the well-off strata of the population, who became the main consumer of expensive jewelry.
Thereupon, the material value of jewelry is increasing, which explains the spread among the local population of gold products imported from Russia. A large number of imported factory jewelry of Russian and Tatar masters, which gained wide popularity among the Uzbek population, was imported. In this regard, local handicraft production had to withstand strong competition, resulting in a noticeable deterioration in the quality of local jewelry. Jewelers have moved to the facilitating and accelerating process of manufacturing products - stamping. The labor-intensive embossing was replaced by a less expressive chasing on the matrices, and so on. Decorations began to be of larger sizes, often leaving them hollow inside and copiously decorating with colored glasses, sequins, mirror pieces, colorful silk threads. As a result, the former artistic merits of traditional Uzbek jewelry art were lost.
But in the middle of the XIX century the jewelry art of Uzbekistan reached an exceptionally high artistic level. There are new forms of products, their ways of wearing and color matching, caused by a change in consumer tastes. Jewelries are harmoniously associated with the lines and color of the national costumes. Along with it in the jewelry art, the feelings of proportionality of form and monotony of color in the ensemble of ornaments are especially pronounced.
In 1920s jewelry art in Uzbekistan changed. It has acquired simpler and more modest forms and colors. In place of complex multi-tiered decorations with an abundance of pendants and colorful stones more monolithic, clear in silhouette decorations came. In these conditions, ancient forms of adornments of Bukhara, Kokand, Fergana, Khorezm, Surkhandarya, and Karakalpakstan have been preserved. They are earrings, bracelets, brooches and rings.
The art of jewelry in Uzbekistan of the XIX century represented a complex syncretic phenomenon, in which local foundations and imported foreign traditions merged. According to the historical chronicles, the masters-jewelries from India, the Caucasus, and Persia came here and worked.
Today, the jewelry traditions of Uzbekistan are being revived thanks to the families of craftsmen. In jewelry stores you can again see gold and silver items made in the classical style of the Uzbek jewelry school. The masters began to unite in the unions of artisans, and their works are increasingly appearing at specialized jewelry exhibitions. Interest in the unique style of Uzbek jewelers is growing every year, even outside the country. The jewelry art of Uzbekistan is a rich and original culture that begins to revive, preserving the knowledge and secrets of skill accumulated by the ancestors for millennia.