Crafting in Uzbekistan


Traditions and crafts Gijduvan

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Traditions and crafts GijduvanGijduvan is a small town just 46 kilometers from Bukhara city. From ancient times to these days Gijduvan is considered to be famous for its trade and craft success. A special pride of Gijduvan inhabitants is, along with a stunning kitchen, their ceramics of extraordinarily beauty and originality.
Among the dozens of schools of ceramics in Central Asia, Gijduvan holds a special place. Nowadays, it is the only remaining center of polychrome glazed pottery in the whole region, which grew up on the customs’ basis of their ancestors and that continue its successful development in modern times. It was exactly thanks to masters of Gijduvan, when the traditional yellow-green range of Bukhara ceramics was woven floral patterns, commonly with a geometric pattern, enjoying extraordinary popularity. So what's their secret? Perhaps, it is in the invaluable experience of ancestors, handed down from father to son by word of mouth. Not for nothing, the founder of Gijduvan school of ceramics became Ibodullo Narzullaev, who was born himself into the fifth generation of potter and passed his skills, not only to students, but also to his children Abdullah, Alisher and Nodira. Thus, today, former fame of father, whose works are in museums around the world, is being multiplied by the success of his worthy offspring.
If you will be lucky enough to visit Gijduvan, do not miss the opportunity to visit the workshop of Abdullah Narzullaev – the member of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan.
Believe me, he is quite an unusual person. In addition, he is a brilliant ceramist, he is the person who is extremely easy and interesting to communicate. This man has a tenacious closer look, strong handshake, an open smile and, the most importantly, the desire to talk about his favorite business in details and in a very intelligible manner.
Narzullaevs family invites everyone to visit the museum of ceramics and their home studio, to see the process of production, and perhaps, even to buy some souvenir for a good memory.
In case you have a desire, you will be able to take a training course in the house of the master, which involves living in a family of usto (master), just learning pottery, as well as the communion with the famous disciples.
However, do not even try to ask the teacher, when did you become a true master, and then in response you will hear this parable.
Once in immemorial time, one famous ceramist had a student. After 10 years of study passed, he came to the teacher and asked for his release to work independently, but the teacher refused him to do this without any explanation. It took another 10 years of teaching, a student asked again to be free, but the teacher refused one more time. After that the beast turned to the elders. The special test of skill and the court were held, the elders decided to release the student, although his usto (teacher) was against it once again.
The apprentice got his own studio and began making the dishes for sale, but it was not in demand and very soon the newly-born master failed. There was nothing to do else, but to return to the house of a teacher and to ask be taken back. And the teacher took him with the condition that he would start from the beginning.
Once again, the student had to help usto with kneading the clay, rubbing the paints. It took another 10 years, the student has mastered a profession again, but nothing came of it another time. To say precisely, he could make the ceramic items, if he did the dishes in the presence of the master, and without him, the ready products were dark and murky.
Completely frustrated student fell at the feet of the teacher and asked: "Tell me, please, what am I doing wrong?" - "You do everything right, but every time you forget to do this way…”, and with these words, the teacher blew the almost finished bowl.
The secret of the wizard was pretty simple. After products were stained then they are covered with the glaze. But before doing it, the master must wait until the paint dries, and that process takes a long time, thus, the dishes can be full of dust. So, before glazing the wizard, remembering all the details of his mastery, just blows the dust away in order to paint under the glaze remains bright.
This and many others interesting stories are waiting for you to hear during the meal time, because a training course of pottery suggests three meals per day. Incidentally, this is an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with the remarkable Gijduvan kitchen.
Namely women were engaged in cooking for centuries, but the women of the Narzullaev family are not only the excellent cooks.
"Beautiful half" of the family is worthy of their men and no less of fame. They successfully revive the native Gijduvan embroidery. Begun by M. Barakaeva case was continued by Mavluda, Gulbahor and Dilnoza Narzullaeva who are now the leading craftswomen in this area. The entire process of creating products ranging from spinning and dyeing fabrics of silk, to painstaking patterning, you will also be able to see in the home workshop of Narzullaev family. Moreover, the excellent products can be looked at in the newly opened museum of ceramics, where there is a separate room especially for embroidery.