Relations between the United States and Uzbekistan have soured. The U.S. has lost the use of an important air base in Uzbekistan after it raised questions about an apparent massacre of civilians by police in the town of Andijan. Despite the frosty relations, the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Washington, DC, has held an exhibit of traditional ceramics and hand-made silk articles. Kathy Scarrah narrates.
The exhibition at the Embassy of Uzbekistan was organized with the Association for Central Asian Cultural Exchange. Located at a historical crossroads, Uzbekistan was part of the fabled Silk Road between East and West and its culture reflects that.
Visitors to the exhibition had an opportunity to talk with craftsmen who have revived ancient technologies for producing ceramics and hand made silks.
Rustam Usmanov makes traditional ceramics. "Rishtan is one of the oldest Uzbek centers of traditional ceramic manufacturing. There are other centers but Rishtan ceramics have a style all their own and are famous for their shades of blue. These traditions reach back to the 12th and 13th centuries."
The blue ceramics of Rishtan capture the color of the Central Asian sky in the heart of the Fergana Valley.
The shades of color from turquoise to dark green and intricate ornamentation reflect the influence of the ancient cultures of Iran and China. Four generations of the family of Fazlidin Dadadjonov, director of the National Craft Center "Ikat", have produced hand made silks. The patterns he employs in his works are found in museums.
Togjan Balterson is Vice President of the Association for Central Asian Cultural Exchange. "It is a great opportunity for Americans to see for themselves beautiful examples of the ancient art of Uzbekistan."
This exhibit was the first time these ancient ceramics and hand-made silk items were shown in the U.S.