One of the most common types of traditional decorative/applied art of Uzbekistan is jewellery-making. Unique items wrought by skilful hands of jewellery masters are the true pieces of high art, which capture the spirit and character of the national culture.
Since olden times the secrets of jewellery-making art were passed from one generation to another, from father to son… Jeweller dynasties exist nowadays too. A vivid manifestation of this is the family of Faskhitdin Dadamukhamedov, where the father pass on to his four sons the experience and skill of a jewellery master, The art of Faskhitdin Dadamukhamedov was already covered in press (SAN’AT, 1999, No.l), and that material prompted a look upon the art of the dynasty and the master’s apprentices.
F. Dadamukhamedov is an art historian by profession. He knows very well the history of jewellery-making and it is therefore not by accident that he follows a traditional trend in his art. In the items created by the master one can notice features specific to different jewellery schools of Uzbekistan. For instance, “Tanga jevak” set is performed in the spirit of steppe art: assorted coins are linked together with a chain into a necklace; the coins bear chased inscription “Mukhammad”. For the master this chain symbolizes the link between history and contemporaneity.
“Panjara tumor” set is wrought in Bukhara style and is a lacy chest piece woven of a silver line. According to F. Dadamukhamedov, he developed this original method of weaving specifically for this item. The master argues that “A jeweller must first of all be a skilled artist, which is the only way he can think spatially. It is also important for his trade to know the history of the craft. The combination of the two professions enables one to create the most perfect jewelleryitems”.
The sons and apprentices of F. Dadamukhamedov also search for their own original methods of jewellery-making, trying to become the true masters of their trade. Among the best of Dadamukhamedov’s students are Mirvosil Obidov, Mirakbar Pulatov, Mekhriddin Khlikov and Bobur Mukhamedov. The master says: “My every student is a whole universe. I try to reveal to them all the secrets given to me by my mentor Niyozali Kholmatov. Mekhriddin Khlikov and Mirvosil Obidov are my followers they are the adherents of national traditions”.
There have already been a number of events important for Mirvosil Obidov: in Paris he participated in an exhibition dedicated to the celebration of Amir Temur Year announced by UNESCO (France, 1996); in Germany it was “EXPO-2000″ (Hanover); an exhibition in Linden Museum (Stuttgart, 2002), “EXPO-2005″ in Nagoya, Japan, etc. Among his finest works are jewellery items that continue the traditions of Tashkent jewellery school of early 20th century. Interpreting the style of “Zirak” earrings, Obidov created a set consisting of earrings, a necklace, bracelets and a ring adorned with turquoise and cornelian. The earrings are shaped as a flower with gold petals that constitutes the basis of the composition. The necklace consists of a centrepiece medallion and turquoise-inlaid flowers connected by a gold chain. The bracelets are decorated with turquoise and cornelian. The ring is also inlaid with turquoise. The Tashkent style traditions are also represented in a “Tumor” set that comprises earrings and a chest piece. The set stands out by the fine workmanship and integrity of image it has no redundant details or elements.
“Takya-duzi” headdress created by Obidov in Khorezmian style is decorated with chased coins connected by chains. He accentuated spherical and almond-shaped medallions, the inclusion of which enabled achieving compositional integrity of the piece.
Along with traditional style jewellery Obidov also works on modern forms. Such is a neck piece that consists of a central rhomb and rectangular elements connected by joints. Another master’s work in modern style is a headdress, the basis of which are stones installed into casts and connected by chains. In this item in total 524 stones were used: as pendants they hang down over the forehead, cheeks, temples, and back of the head.
Bobur Mukhamedov studied under the mentorship of Faskhitdin Dadamukhamedov in the jewellery-making department of the Republican College of Arts. In his work he adhered to the modem style, yet, following the advice of his mentor, he employs traditional elements in his jewellery. Of a particular interest are his works that represent a happy combination of Tashkent and Fergana jewellery-making traditions. In his “Tillakosh” diadem Mukhamedov skilfully uses filigree. Parts symmetrically drawn from the centre create a butterfly-like shape. The upper part is complemented with filigree flower and a peacock plume. Turquoise at the centre completes the composition.
“Kosh tumor” set also combines elements of different schools: “Bozubond” jewellery style typical of Samarqand and Bukhara is combined with “Tumor” style of the Tashkent school. Creating an integral ensemble that comprises the finest features from different trends required that the master employ some compositional transformations and the highest skill in wielding the technique. The set consists of earrings, chest piece and bracelets. There is a reason why it is called “Kosh” (paired): all its components chest pieces, earrings and bracelets are paired. At the same time, the chest pieces are of different size. By and large, paired-ness of sets is characteristic of the Tashkent school, grid lacing of Bukhara, and monumental form of Samarqand. The intertwining of all these elements in one set creates a new and original specimen of jewellery art.
Bobur Mukhamedov’s composition “Shudring” (Dew) is performed in a peculiar minimalist style, without excesses and complementary details. The set consists of earrings and a necklace. The basis of the earrings is a medallion girdled with spiral wire, fixed upon which are turquoise and grainy elements that create the effect of a morning dew. The necklace is also wrought as circles and semicircles interwoven with a spiral wire.
The spouse of Bobur Mukhamedov, Munisa Mukhamedova, a four-year student of the Pedagogical Institute named after Nizami, is also a jeweller. Her composition called “Munis nozi” catches the eye of every connoisseur of beauty. The piece wrought by the hands of the woman-jeweller is distinguished by its exquisite form, and one can sense a subtle soul of a woman in it. At the centre of the necklace is a stylized butterfly and a dome-shaped pendant. Chains consist of interwoven links. The antennas of the butterfly also connect, beginning the chain ligature. Synthesizing tradition and designer’s vision, Munisa creates jewellery items that echo contemporary fashion.
Mekhriddin Khalikov graduated from the Republican College of Arts (jewellery-making department) and was also a student of Faskhitdin Dadamukhamedov. Presently Khalikov trains students himself. He wrought “Springtime” necklace in modern style: at its centre there is a medallion decorated with turquoise. Maintaining compositional symmetry, pieces of turquoise are also strewn on the flower and petals. Wrought in filigree technique, the necklace is interlaced with chains.
“Gulchambar” necklace stands out by the complexity of workmanship that few masters are capable of. The composition is wrought in modern style with the use of engraving technique which Khalikov employs masterfully, despite his young age. As early as during their time in college Dadamukhamedov noticed this ability in his student and dedicated a lot of time to help the sideline passion grow into profession.
Mekhriddin Khalikov is not only a jeweller, but also a restorer. He restored “Tilla kosh” piece of the Tashkent-Fergana school from Botir Gulmirzaev’s collection, giving specific attention to the restoration of the missing elements, every one of which has its own historical and aesthetic meaning. Khalikov cherishes the experience and knowledge of the jewellers of the former generations. For instance, when creating a signet ring, Khalikov decided to recreate the signet ring form of Amir Temur era, where features of Kashkadarya and Surkhandarya jewellery-making schools are clearly noticeable.
“Isirga zirak” is a traditional piece of jewellery worn by women of Zaamin and Jizak. Wrought by Khalikov, these earrings consist of three tiny domes, medallions with crescent moons at the ends and centre, and almond-shape pendants; the crescent moons are decorated with filigree ligature.
Many students of Faskhitdin Dadamukhamedov, having become independent masters, opened their own workshops and have their own clientele. The sons work alongside their father. When coaching them, Faskhitdin Dadamukhamedov urges them not to merely copy ancient jewellery, but to feel their form and dficor, to study history behind their making. Among the finest works of his elder son Fazliddin is a composition called “Oyna zirak” wrought in the Tashkent school style. Mother-of-pearl, ligature and droplet-shaped pendants are assembled in a peculiar way that distinguishes the piece from a similar one created by his father. Elegant jewel-boxes represent another area in his art; he uses filigree to decorate them and also creates miniatures on the covers.
The master’s second son Mukhsin Dadamukhamedov is an art historian by education. He engages in jewellery-making since his childhood years. Quite remarkable is his “Uch kuza” piece. There is a similar composition created by Faskhitdin Dadamukhamedov that can be considered a true masterpiece. The son’s work is interesting in terms of its peculiar interpretation of shape. Another necklace by Mukhsin is made using the method of interlaced chains, which has become a signature of the young master.
The master’s third son Talat Dadamukhamedov is a student of the art history department of the National Institute of Arts and Design named after K. Bekhzad. Talat has his own view as to how jewellery should look like; he tends to gravitate more towards modern forms. Even traditional items he makes acquire a renewed look. His composition “Bakhor” is a vivid confirmation of the above. At the centre of the composition there is a stylized butterfly inlaid with green spherical and red droplet-shape stones; on either side of the butterfly there are tulips and leaves; all elements are connected by filigree designs and all this is performed in the best of the family traditions. The composition has come out as integral and harmonious.
Bobur Dadamukhamedov, the youngest son, is a third year student of the Republican College of Arts (art history department) and also proves worthy of the family trade. In 2006 he was the winner of “Kalajak ovozi” contest, in the department of fine and applied arts. His earrings “Kashkar baldog” impress the viewer with a new interpretation of the classic character and the fine workmanship. “Kashkar baldog” consist of a ring inside which there is a stylized almond-shape ligature. The item is complemented by droplet-shape stone pendants. Another pair of earrings “Zirak” is created by the young master in the tradition of Surkhandarya school.
Nowadays jewellers have every opportunity to realize their creative aspirations. The ancient craft is getting popular among young people too. Not only young jewellers receive specialist education, but they also participate in different contests and exhibitions, both at home and abroad. The attention the government is giving to the craftsmen is a guarantee of further development and strengthening of traditional arts and crafts.