Monday, August 17, 2015

Monuments of ancient art of Karakalpakstan

At the lower reaches of the Amu Darya is located the Khorezm oasis, whose fertile lands are surrounded by deserts of Karakum, Kyzylkum and vast open spaces of the Aral – Caspian.

Within this rich delta nowadays divided today among Rep. of Karakalpakstan, the Khorezm region (both in Uzbekistan) and the Dashkhovuz viloyat of Turkmenistan, in far antiquity arose and blossomed the civilization of ancient Khoresm. Many outstanding monuments of art have been found belonging  to this extraordinary and mysterious Civilization.

It is as ancient as the great civilizations in Egypt, Mesopotamia and India. Almost three thousand years of continious civilisation making it the oldest in Central Asia.  Its unique architectural monuments also compare to the Egyptian pyramids and Iraqi Zigurats and Greek temples very different from culture of other regions of Central Asia.

Archeologists have found magnificent examples of ancient Khwarazmian art including numerous finds of terracotta, clay statues and bas-reliefs, frescos and ceramic ossuaries enabling them to learn a lot about about the life of ancient population of the delta lands.

Khwarazmian painting and sculpture, whose development was integrally linked to that of architecture, glorified fertility and deified the power of the king; typical examples of this art are the painted clay statues and bas-reliefs and the multicolored decorative paintings, executed in natural pigments, that were found at Toprak-Kala. A unique form of Khwarazmian art are the ceramic ossuaries in the form of statues (fifth century B.C. to the early Common Era), which present a stylized image of the deceased. Terra-cotta statuettes, fashioned throughout Khwarazm, depict goddesses of fertility in a style that reflects the tradition of the Southwest Asian kore; other terra-cotta statuettes include small figurines of horses and, more rarely, men in “Scythian” dress. Typical of the fourth and third centuries B.C. are ceramic flasks with bas-reliefs depicting mythological subjects.


See the article in Sanat by Professor Vadim N. Yagodin Head of the Department of Archaeology, Research Institute of the Humanities of Karakalpak branch of Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan for more detailed information.

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