Thursday, November 28, 2013

Uzbekistan gets US$100 million ADB loan for first solar power plant

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help Uzbekistan to build a 100MW solar project, the country's first utility-scale solar power plant.

Uzbekistan is to be the first Central Asian country to build a solar power plant in a bid to develop clean energy in the region. 

The installation will be built by the state energy company Uzbekenergo across 400 hectares in the Samarkand region at an estimated cost of over US $300 million.

With 320 days of sunshine per year, Uzbekistan's geography and climate conditions are highly favourable for solar power.

In 2012, the country and ADB opened an international solar energy research facility in Tashkent which the Central Asian country hopes will eventually enable it to become a solar technology exporter. Uzbekistan is aiming to be the region's solar energy hub and leader in solar technology.

ADB will lend US$110 million from its Asian development fund to the ‘Samarkand Solar Power Project’. A further US$200 million of funding is to come from Uzbekistan’s Fund for Reconstruction and Development, and Uzbekenergo, the governing body for supplying electricity in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekenergo, which is responsible for half of central Asia’s energy generation capacity, will manage the solar project and other related facilities. The Samarkand project will take five years to develop and construct, with a completion date of 2019. The project is will be used to promote large-scale solar power in the country. It will also diversify Uzbekistan’s energy mix which is currently heavily reliant on fossil fuels and will aid Uzbekistan’s government target of 21% renewable energy generation by 2031.


Friday, November 15, 2013

The Qaraqalpaqs of the Aral Delta - New Book on the amazing Culture and History of the Karakalpaks

New book on Culture and History of the Karakalpaks by the very knowledgeable David and Sue Richardson. Published by Prestel, Munich 2012, 470 pp. with more than 1,000 colour  & b/w illustrations, notes, bibliography, appendices.  Hardbound.

See full review by Andrew Hale

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Karakalpak rug collection of the Museum of Oriental Art in Moscow

The Karakalpak rug collection of the Museum of Oriental Art in Moscow contains 52 pieces, of which 51 pieces had been collected by I.V. Savitsky in the 1950s and were presented to the museum in 1958. Almost all of them have analogues in the collection of two Nukus museums: State Museum of Karakalpak Arts and Museum of Local Lore.

A Karakalpak rug, probably 19th ct. Size 160x117 cm
The collection includes rugs from Kegeily, Chimbai, and Karauzyak and other districts of Karakalpakstan. For some time, Karakalpaks used not only their own rugs for domestic purposes but those made by Turkmens and Kazakhs as well. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the yurt played an important role in the everyday life of Karakalpaks and was used for main or supplementary lodging. In the yurt interior, diverse rug items of pile, flat-weave, and mixed technique were used: bags and sacks, decorative rugs and carpets, tent bands, and others.

Karshins and eshik kases comprise the major part of the collection. These articles are also the most numerous of all Karakalpak rugs. The karshin is a bag for garments and other cloth articles. Its average dimensions are 108-110 x 30-32 cm. It is placed in the lower part of the bedding (juk), which is placed on the trunk (sanduk). It consists of two parts: a face side woven in pile or mixed technique and a flatwoven back. The karshin is placed so that its face is visible. The eshik kas is a decorative rug for the inside, upper part of the yurt entrance. On its right and left sides are two white bands, ishki jambu, made in combined technique.

Karshin (Long Bag), pile rug Kegeily region, early 20th century Size 93x31cm

The rugs in the collection have similar features to other Central Asia designs:
1. Monumental patterns. Usually Central Asian patterns of carpets and felts are large, with clear details and repetition;
2. Medallions form the basis of design. Pattern elements are placed symmetrically on one axis; 
3. The medallions have diagonal coloration, which produces an effect of slight movement; 
4. The rug palette is strict, modest, and has a limited quantity of colours and patterns.

Nevertheless, colour and patterns produce an impression of richness and variety, which is possible due to the alternation of main colour and pattern elements and due to their skilful combination, including the use of the background colour in pattern motifs. All of this creates a unity, and harmony of colours and patterns.
Source:  The Karakalpak Rug Collection of the Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow, by L.G. Beresneva and A. S. Teselkin with a commentary by George O'Bannon, 1995 vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 12-22.