Sunday, December 18, 2016

Suzani - Decorative Textiles

Painting with Suzani by Robert Falk, Savitzky Museum, Nukus

Suzani is a type of embroidered and decorative tribal textile made in  Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and other Central Asian countries. Suzan which means needle. Suzanis usually have a cotton (sometimes silk) fabric base, which is embroidered in silk or cotton thread. Chain, satin, and buttonhole stitches are the primary stitches used. There is also extensive use of couching, in which decorative thread laid on the fabric as a raised line is stitched in place with a second thread. Suzanis are often made in two or more pieces, that are then stitched together.  One of the things that make suzani fascinating is they are handmade and so no two are exactly alike. Every suzani has an intentional imperfection be it an unfinished corner, a distorted shape, or the “wrong” colour this is “because the world is not perfect, a suzani should not be perfect”.

Some patterns are abstracted and geometric, but most are legible: snakes, suns, knives to cut bad luck and hot peppers to ward it off, pomegranates for fertility, many forms of flowers Popular design motifs include sun and moon disks, flowers (especially tulips, carnations, and irises), leaves and vines, fruits and occasionally fish and birds.

The oldest surviving suzanis are from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but it seems likely that they were in use long before that. In the early 15th century, Ruy Gonzáles de Clavijo, the Castilian ambassador to the court of Timur (Tamerlane), left detailed descriptions of embroideries that were probably forerunners of the suzani. In the nineteenth century, Uzbek women produced fabulous embroidered hangings,  bed covers, wrapping cloths, table covers, and prayer mats for their households and their daughters' wedding trove. Brides Suzani's were traditionally as part of their dowry, and were presented to the groom on their wedding day.

Suzanis were traditionally as part of their dowry, and were presented to the groom on their wedding day. These hand-embroidered vintage suzanis are infused with the character that only comes from everyday use. The story of each suzani is as rich as their colors, as intricate as the designs that cover their surfaces.


Uzbekistan Red Book Stamps - Saiga Antelope

The Post office of Uzbekistan (O’zbekistan Pochtasi) and the State Communications Committee released the stamps on May 30, 2014 titled Fauna - Rare animals of Uzbekistan.«O'ZBEKISTON FAUNASI». The series consists of two stamps and two postage block of two of the most endangered large mammals in Uzbekistan the Saiga antelope and the Turkestan lynx both in the Red Book of Uzbekistan. Number of stamps minted was 10,000. Number of copies of each postage block - 7000.
Saiga tatarica 3200 Som


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Imom Ismoil al-Buxoriy (810-870)

Imom Ismoil al-Buxoriy also known as Muhammad ibn Isma`il al-Bukhari al-Ju`fi (Arabic: أبو عبد الله محمد بن اسماعيل بن ابراهيم بن المغيرة بن بردزبه الجعفي البخاري‎‎‎) was an Islamic scholar and theologian born in Bukhara who lived from 810  to 870. A follower of the Hanbali school of thought within Islamic jurisprudence he authored the influential Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (Arabic: صحيح البخاري‎‎) one of the Kutub al-Sittah (six major hadith collections of Sunni Islam). Also recognised by Zaidi Shia Muslims.

The word sahih translates in Arabic as authentic or correct, the hadith themselves being prophetic traditions based on cases of life or sayings attributed to the Prophet  many after being transmitted orally for generations. Out of those al-Bukhari selected as “flawless” 7400 which he collected to include into his “As-Sahih”. To this day being considered the most authentic collection of hadith,  ahead of the other famous collection 'Al - Muwatta' by Bukhari's student in Nishapur Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj.

The work is considered the most authentic because of both its quality and the soundness of the chain of narrators of the selected ahādīth. Al-Bukhari followed two principle criteria for selecting sound narratives. First, the lifetime of the narrator had to overlap with the lifetime of the authority from whom he narrates. Second, it had to be verifiable that the narrators have met with the source. They also had to have expressly stated that they obtained the narrative from this authority. This is a stricter criterion than that set by 'Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj'. In addition al-Bukhari accepted the narratives from only those who, according to his knowledge, not only believed in Islam but practiced its teachings. The way he arranged and ordered the chapters in his book also demonstrated his profound knowledge and understanding of his religion. His work proving for over a millennia to be a guide in understanding the Islamic religions disciplines.

Al Bukhari also composed other books, including the al-Adab al-Mufrad, (which is an abridged collection of chains of narration going back all the way to the Prophet regarding matters pertaining to the Prophet, his practices and his times) which is a collection of hadiths on ethics and manners. Bukhari also wrote three works discussing narrators of hadith with respect to their ability in conveying their material: the "brief compendium of hadith narrators," "the medium compendium" and the "large compendium" (al-Tarikh al-Kabīr, al-Tarīkh al-Ṣaghīr, and al-Tarīkh al-Awsaţ).

His burial place is located within a complex in the small village of Hartang, 30 km from Samarkand. It occupies a vast site, there are mausoleums, mosques, hotels for pilgrims, souvenir shops and religious literature. The mausoleum of Imam al-Bukhari being one of the main pilgrimage sites in the whole of Uzbekistan. Pilgrims who go to this and two other  shrines in Samarkand – the mausoleums of Shakhi-Zinda and Rukhabad – within one day, are said to be going on the “small Hajj”.