Central Asian Art
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The strict prohibition on the representation of the human form has channeled artistic creation into architecture and architectural decoration. This book is a magical tour through Central Asia - Khirgizia, Tadjikistan, Turkmenia, and Uzbekistan - a cradle of Ancient civilisations and are pository of the Oriental arts inspired by Buddhism and Islam. There are magnificent, full-colour photographs of the abandoned cities of Mervand Urgench, Khiva, the capital of the Kharezm, with its mausoleum of Sheikh Seid Allahuddin,and, the Golden Road to Samarkand, the Blue City, a center of civilisation for 2,500 years.



Publié par
Date de parution 04 juillet 2023
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781783107971
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 3 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0800€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Vladimir Lukonin and Anatoli Ivanov

Baseline Co. Ltd
61A-63A Vo Van Tan Street
4 th Floor
District 3, Ho Chi Minh City

© Confidential Concepts, worldwide, USA
© Parkstone Press International, New York, USA
Image-Bar www.image-bar.com

All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or adapted without the permission of the copyright holder, throughout the world. Unless otherwise specified, copyright on the works reproduced lies with the respective photographers, artists, heirs or estates. Despite intensive research, it has not always been possible to establish copyright ownership. Where this is the case, we would appreciate notification.

ISBN: 978-1-78310-797-1
Vladimir Lukonin and Anatoli Ivanov

Asian Art
Kazi Zade Rumi Mausoleum. Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

A Brief Glance at History
Triumph of Islam
The art of decoration
Predominance of religious art
The golden age of the builders
Tradition and modernity
Hellenistic contributions
Buddhist influence
Khwarezm sculptures
Sogdian sculptures
Bactrian sculptures
The early Middle Ages
Buddhist art
Mythological art
Megalithic art
The revival of independant art
Monumental Painting and Illumination
Monumental painting
Palace frescos
The schools
The modern miniaturists and their successors
The Decorative Arts
The Middle Ages
Modern times
The Middle Ages
The art of engraving of Tokharistan
The art of engraving of Kharezm
The art of engraving of Sogdian
The art of engraving of the north-east
Post-Mongolian times
The contemporary period
The Goldsmith’s trade
Antiquity and the Middle Ages
Modern times
Schools of the goldsmith’s trade
Women’s jewellery
The Craft industry
Ivory work
Woodcarving and painted wood
Carpet weaving
Printed cloth
A general picture of popular crafts
Three Pearls on the Silk Road
The Blue City
The Citadel of the Arch
Cultural Capital of Kharezm
Map of Central Asia
Fresco, Abdul Aziz Madrasa. Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
A Brief Glance at History

C entral Asia, ancient territory where nature offers contrasts different from any other area of the world, traditionally regroups four republics of the community of Independent States: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, extending from the Caspian Sea to the Chinese border. Broad deserts and flourishing orchards and vineyards, snow - covered mountains and green valleys, old abandoned cities, traditional villages and modern towns proud of their past – often several thousand years old, and with famous monuments – may be found here. Centre of successive civilisations and multiple cultures, this vast area claims an exceptional architectural, artistic, and handicraft heritage.

Ever since the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age, Central Asia has rivalled with classical Eastern Asia (which extended from Mesopotamia to India) in the abilities and skills of its peoples. In the 6 th century BCE it was largely conquered by the powerful Achaemenian Dynasty and in the 4 th century BCE by Alexander the Great’s army which gave it considerable artistic impetus. The period between the 3 rd century BCE and the 3 rd century CE marked the area with the appearance of powerful Kingdoms: the Parthians of the Arsacid dynasty (south of Turkmenistan, in Persia, and in part of Mesopotamia), the Greco-Bactrians, the Kushans (which included Bactria and the territory beyond Amu-Daria as far as the Indus and the Ganges), the Kangas (that united the Kharezm, the Sogdian, and the northern territories) whose social and cultural development founded an entirely new cultural impulse throughout the territory they controlled.

If the development of the arts in Central Asia was closely linked with their neighbours, this period was nevertheless marked by a conjunction of influences, Hellenistic, Indo-Buddhist, and South Persian, whereas in the North-East, the central territories, the Sakas, and the Scythians, left the imprint of their own traditions. But the local artists didn’t satisfy themselves with copying shapes and designs alien to them, but modified, according to their sensibility, the forms and the content of foreign cultures. They worked with their own ancestral techniques and according to their aesthetic sense and ideology, thus giving birth to a new art profoundly original at the threshold of the 4 th century BCE.
The Ark, fortress walls. Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

The fall of the ancient empires of Central Asia and the invasions of the 4 th and 5 th centuries by wandering tribes from the North predetermined the establishment of a new social order, an intensive feudal system, and the constitution of a great number of semi-independent principalities. It was a period of domination by rich landowners who lived in innumerable fortresses scattered in the plains and mountains. One of the most remarkable characteristics of this renewed social system was the formation of a particular type of medieval culture in the towns, then few in number, and the development of many crafts in different artistic areas.

The political dismemberment encouraged the conquest of the region by the Arabs and its submission to the caliphate power from the 7 th century. It was at this time that all the countries between the Amu Darya and Zhetysu (previously known as Semirechyez, the Seven Rivers region) was named Mavera-un-Nahr. The south of today’s Turkmenistan became a part of the Khorasan region. From this time, only Khwarezm retained its former name.

A part of the patrimony, including mural paintings, sculptures, and representative figures opposed to the Arab laws about ornament, was destroyed during that period, but at the same time, many aspects of artistic life were influenced by Muslim culture.

During the 10 th through 12 th centuries, art was once again faced with many sudden changes. Ancient traditions were abandoned, the development of monumental paintings and sculptures ceased, and the ornamental, decorative style common to all Islamic countries in architecture and the applied arts became the main source of creation. On political grounds, the local noblemen, even if they were nominally subjects of the caliphate, began to conduct their states with total independence from the 9 th and 10 th centuries.

At last, at the beginning of the 11 th century, following the numerous Turkmen invasions, the Turkmen dynasties established themselves in this region. This period favoured the development of urban culture and the growth of towns, among which Merv – today abandoned – Samarkand, Khiva, and Bukhara remained representative of the essential spirit.

Around 1150, the architecture of Central Asia was monochrome, but in the middle of the 12 th century blue brick began to be used and considerable progress was made in the art of building and decorative ornamentation. But the Turco-Mongol invasions at the beginning of the following century put a stop to all artistic development for almost a hundred years.
Tilya-Kori Madrasah. Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
The Ark, fortress. Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
Gur-e Amir Mausoleum. Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

It was only at the end of a slow revival that a renewal began to appear in the 15 th century, under the reign of Tamerlane and the Timurids, today considered the most sumptuous of the artistic patrimony of Central Asia. The edifices from that time are characterised by their decorative aspects and the richness of colour of the glazed ornaments.

The palette of the ceramic surfaces became more and more varied, with a predominance for turquoise blue. Under Timur, in the 1470’s, Samarkand experienced a great development in architecture, which is a testimony to the power of the self-named Emir , or commander.

The edifices of this time are remarkable for their monumental conception intended to strike people’s eyes and hearts. The variety of decorative techniques, glazed bricks, majolica tiles, and sculptured baked clay are proof of a great artistic mastery. With similar ideas concerning the edifices meant for worship, buildings for different purposes were also erected for the comfort of the population: takis and tims or copula galleries for trading caravanserai; public baths, bridges, and sardobas or water-cisterns. The latter were of more modest proportions and surfaces.

These traditions continued for two centuries, under the Uzbeks of the Cheibanid Khanate and the Ashtarkhanid dynasties. But the weakening of the economic and political links outside Central Asia, victim of feudal internal wars, led to a great social crisis at the end of the 18 th century.

The effect was deeply felt on cultural activities in every region except in khanate of Khiva where the economic and political conditions remained favourable. It was only during the following century under the Emirate of Bukhara, the khanates of Khiva and of Kokand that culture knew its new Golden Age. It was at the same time, as these two khanates were integrated to the Russian Empire, that the territories of Central Asia took the names of Turkestan and Transcaspian Province.

Following Central Asia’s historic destiny, its creative activities knew another sumptuous rise which was followed by a decline.
Sher-Dor Madrasah, 1619-1639. Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Reconstructed yurt for the 1000 th anniversary of Manas , a poem about a mythical national hero of the Kyrgyz.

However, despite the period, it was through architecture, craftsmanship and illuminated design of manuscripts that the Uzbek, Turkman, Tajik, and Kyrgyz artists gave the best of themselves. After the October Revolution, Central Asia was integrated into the autonomous Soviet Socia

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