Art of Uzbek ganch-makers abroad

Issue #2 • 1591

Decorative and applied arts play a significant role in creation of harmonious architectural pieces. Ganch carving is a traditional applied art having ability of transformation in modern style.

Ganch carving is equally popular in Uzbekistan and abroad. Our masters frequently receive orders from neighboring countries (Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Russia) as well as from Germany, France, Malaysia and others. Last years were especially rich in orders from abroad. Usually they are carried out by ganch-makers from “Usto” Association directed by famous master M. Mansurov. They are S. Zainutdinov, K. Tashmukhamedov, B. Khashimov, R. Muslimov, B.Sultanov, H. Muradov, S. Tuhtahodjaev, O. Yokubov, A. Begmatov, B. Ashirov, B. Abdullaev, R. Nurmatov, U. Muradov, A.Abdurasulov, G. Rakhimov, G. Muradov, D. Abdullaev, S. Kayumov, G. Ernazarov, O. Shukurov, A. Goziev, A. Ahrorov, U. Pulatov, S. Abdullaev, D. Mahkamov, A. Azizov, A. Tulaganov and A. Rahimbabaev. All of them successfully work at construction sites of Uzbekistan decorating new buildings with ganch carving. These are palace of “Turkiston”, palace for wedding ceremonies “Navruz”, buildings of Oliy Majlis, Exchange Center, theatres, underground stations and others. The masters can perform the most difficult works of high quality, extraordinary beauty and originality.

The ganch-makers have carried out works in Kazakhstan, participated in exhibitions of arts and crafts in Malaysia and France. In 1998 they decorated the gallery of “Perdan” that is located on the island of Langkawy in Malaysia. High and modern buildings in the capital of Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur stand beside old small houses. Chain of magnificent buildings built in the early-20th century in traditions of Islamic architecture occupy the center where west and east, old and new are melting. Gilt bulb-shaped domes and graceful turrets on roofs are characteristic for them. Arab-Islamic forms – acute-angled arch windows and filigree ornaments on facades have been prevailing since the 1980s.

Langkawy Archipelago consists of numerous islands. The main island of Pulau-Lankowy is surrounded by one hundred islands of paradise beauty. Rich flora, trees entwined by lianas, leaves of all possible tints of green, bright big flowers and laces of huge fern were reflected in decor of buildings alongside with ornaments of traditional Islamic culture – “ghirih” and “islimi”. Cut from ganch on white ganch or mirror background, these ornaments combined with painting create bright oriental patterns. In “Perdana” Gallery our masters decorated domes, drums, stalactites, numerous panels facing walls and made ganch lamps. The ceiling in foyer is especially beautiful. For the first time ganch-makers made small reverted domes which are hanging downwards. Carved patterns are made in technique of lulya pardoz and pah pardoz. Some elements are gilt. Ganch lamps are made in Bukhara style which differs by small and superficial, but exquisite pattern.

The main hall of gallery has dome ceiling. Its background of emerald color is decorated with vegetative pattern of Bukhara style. Carving is done in a style of pah pardoz. Three-row stalactites with five-pointed stars decorate the lower part of dome. There are ganch figures named as drums below. Some drums are decorated with ganch lattices inside, the other drums are ornamented with vegetative patterns. These alternating drums create a colorful picture, characteristic for Islamic ornamental art. Besides, these patterns graphically represent the sense of life. The flat ceiling around the dome is divided into square and rectangular parts, each of which is decorated with ganch carving on the mirror background. This, already traditional, technique was first proposed and used by famous Uzbek master Usto Shirin Muradov. At the same time, ganch-makers created a lot of innovative works synthesizing local oriental and western art. The columns are rich in stalactites which reflected ganch forms and baroque. Ganch-makers created also new stalactites – adjoining to each other empty semi-cylinders from ganch and decorated with open carving. Inner lamps radiate dark blue light creating pacifying atmosphere and mystery. Such stalactites were made in Tashkent above the entrance of city hokimiyat building. Obviously, the joint of different cultures gives new ideas and images providing evolution of oriental ornamental art.

Masters from “Usto” decorated a mosque in Malaysian seaport of Kuching in Saravak state. The ornament on dome is remarkable. Black epigraphic lines from Koran on the yellow background decorate its center. The basic background of dome is blue. Rhombic net in lulya pardoz style and gilding cover it. Carved vegetative composition of elongate turunjes fills rhombuses inside. Three-row stalactites after them represent figures, elongate downwards, and ended with stars – also a new form of stalactites. The drums have star-shaped stalactites or asterisks of red color on the white carved background. They remind red hibiscus – the national flower of Malaysia growing throughout the country. Its five petals symbolize five precepts of Islam.

In 2004 the ganch-makers from “Usto”, artists and nakkoshi from Uzbekistan were invited to Chimkent (Kazakhstan) to work at Memorial Museum of repression victims. Its ceiling is dome. Arabian epigraphic lines of Koran sura decorate its center. Epigraphic patterns decorate also the basis of dome in style of iroki, revived by Tashkent masters after long oblivion. More architectural, than decorative, style of iroki is used in decor of Samarkand monuments. Masters from “Usto” have studied this technique for a long time. First they applied it in the Museum to repression victims in Tashkent and then in Chimkent. The new in ornamental art is becoming traditional. Elongate turunjes, growing from the top to the basis of dome, also represent a new ornament coming from traditional forms.

Ganch carving of our masters radiate especial warmth and light. There are no foreign analogues as our masters continue to work by hands giving heat of hearts and love to their products.

The works of Uzbek ganch-makers in Malaysia and Kazakhstan prove that they follow our national traditions both in technique and in ornamental motifs. The big panels are done in carving technique of pah pardoz as it perfectly transfers play of light and shadow. Choka pardozt is used mainly in small rooms. Its rather superficial carving creates soft ornament. Lulya pardoz also becomes popular as it is good for gilding. Ornamental motifs are vegetative, geometrical (ghirih) and epigraphic. The vegetative or mixed patterns, i.e. ghirih with vegetative pattern inside, prevail in works of Tashkent masters. Epigraphic pattern plays didactic role. Besides that our ganch-makers developed and performed many samples of ganch carving, for example, stalactites from cast semi-cylinders, bright painting in combination with carving which reflect rich flora of the country. They make stalactites on columns reminding Gothic baroque. Characteristic for the Uzbek ornament expressiveness and severity of forms has given up the place to magnificent decor of rooms meeting tastes of local population. The successful combination of Uzbek ganch making traditions and methods characteristic for this or that country where our masters work creates original architectural decor. Traditional art of ganch dynamically develops and promotes development of new forms and techniques.

Khurshida Salieva

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