The Art of Gold Embroidery from Uzbekistan

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Lulu.com, Mar 25, 2015 - History - 227 pages
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Since ancient times Samarkand and Bukhara, have been thriving centres of craft production due to their location on the main routes of the ancient 'Silk Road.' The commercial, religious and political experience of these oasis cities had major lasting influences on craft production. Gold embroidery was no exception. Detailed examination of historical sources related to gold embroidery or zarduzi, showed that, until the Bolshevic Revolution in 1917, consumption of gold embroidery was restricted to the wealthy middle class and court elites. It was most spectacularly employed in displays of power and wealth among the courts of the Emirs before the Russian invasion in1868 and was produced by ustos, or masters in court ateliers. Follow zarduzi to the present day.
 

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Since ancient times Samarkand and Bukhara, have been thriving centres of craft production due to their location on the main routes of the ancient 'Silk Road.' The commercial, religious and political experience of these oasis cities had major lasting influences on craft production. Gold embroidery or zarduzi, was no exception. Until the Bolshevic Revolution in 1917, consumption of gold embroidery was restricted to the wealthy middle class and court elites; spectacularly employed in displays of power and wealth among the courts of the Emirs before the Russian invasion in1868. Under the Tsars, the social and cultural place of zarduzi was only slightly affected, by the introduction of inferior 'gold' thread imported from Russian factories. During the Soviet era, women were removed from Islamic family roles and employed in cooperativised craft centres and the textile industry. Zarduzi items were mass-produced and became accessible to all, through the use of cheaper materials. As a cultural marker, zarduzi emerged as an important symbol for individual Uzbek identity in the subsuming Soviet system, at the same time as it featured in monumental works produced to celebrate the Socialist regime in the public arena. After gaining independence in 1991, the Uzbek government supported traditional crafts as a strategy for affirming cultural identity. Zarduzi is now taught in schools, created in the home, and in government and private workshops. The people of Uzbekistan are now giving new life to gold embroidery as part of their personal, communal and national lives.

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