Enchanting Wooden Ornaments

Issue #4 • 518

Surayo Alieva,
Art Critic

Creativity of Artyk Fayzullaev – the popular craftsman of Uzbekistan, the author of many pieces of art, the famous woodcarver, has been highly appreciated by the experts and the lovers of art. He is a recognized leading craftsman of the Tashkent school of woodcarving. This art, which was developing in close connection with architecture, since ancient times made an important and distinctive part of the applied arts. The craftsmen carefully preserved local specifics and unique tradition of woodcarving constantly improving them. Artistic originality and technical methods of the Tashkent school of woodcarving in the twentieth century have been formed by such masters as Alimjan Kasymjanov (1878-1952), Suleyman Khojaev (1866-1946), and Maqsood Kasimov. In the 1950s and 1960s, Artyk Fayzullaev continued the age-old tradition of woodcarving. Among the apprentices of A. Fayzullaev – the Honorary Worker of Arts of Uzbekistan (1963), academician of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan – are such craftsmen as G. Yuldashev, A. Azlarov, S. Rahmatullaev.
The pieces of art created by Artyk Fayzullaev were exhibited not only in Uzbekistan, Russia, the Baltic countries, but also at the exhibitions and contests held in Japan, Germany, Poland, Finland, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and other countries.
The craftsmen treat the wood as an invaluable material that is why their hands produce the true pieces of art. In their work, they use hard and durable species of wood that match the purpose of the to-be-manufactured items. A. Fayzullaev masterfully handles the wood with golden-brown or grayish-yellow tinge. Paying special attention to the natural structure and quality of wood, he decorates his products with delicate patterns characteristic of the Tashkent school of woodcarving.
A. Fayzullaev has learned all the techniques of carving and the most sophisticated methods of its treatment. He possesses the secret skills of making lattices from pieces of wood no wider than one centimeter. Recreating the beauty of traditional patterns on his products, he uses neither glue nor nails. Seemingly simple unpretensious patterns come out due to the precise mathematical calculations and fine artistry of this craftsman.
The Tashkent school of woodcarving is characterized by the simultaneous use of smoothly convex patterns of the so-called background carving across the wooden surface. Unlike other schools of woodcarving, the products of the Tashkent school have the ornamental patterns cut in two or three layers. The ornamental pattern is highlighted at the medium depth. This school widely applies the semiabstract vegetal (“islimi”) and geometric (“girikhi”) ornaments and the elements, and all styles of “pardoz” ornamentation. The convexity of the pattern is also unique, that means that the relief surface is painted and lacquered. The creative particularity of Fayzullaev’s work lies in the harmonious combination of “pargori” style with the vegetation patterns. Eventually, it results in the foundation consisting of a combination of smooth bulges and interwoven ornaments. The wholeness and completeness of the ornaments provide for a beautiful composition.
In his work, A. Fayzullaev uses such wood as black birch, sycamore, walnut, from which he makes the traditional carved jewelry boxes, plates, lawkh (stands for books), many-sided little tables, pen-cases and fenders. To transfer the drawings on the wood the craftsman uses the copy paper; sometimes he interlinks the patterns applying the “pargori” technique. The master reflects the uniqueness of the “wood” in the smoothly polished surface of the wood, sharp angled faces and the depth of cut ranging from 1.5 mm to 2 mm. The master polishes the surface of the bulges in order to reveal the beauty of the wood, creating a play of color, light and shade.
The art pieces by A. Fayzullaev created from different material and in different styles are distinguished by their harmony, from the point of view of the form and the volume, as well as by the traditional patterns in new interpretation.
Various items carved by the master are distinguished by their common floral and geometric themes. A. Fayzullaev selects the patterns in accordance with the function of the product. The carved plate made by this master, for example, in 1993, has the composition based on harmonious combination of forms of a vegetative ornament. The octagonal table, made in the technique of “islimi” (1991), achieves the compositional unity by a combination of vegetative branches and lush, sophisticated inflorescences. Such patterns are carved in the form of climbing branches “yak raftor” (one branch) and “du raftor” (two branches). Typically, the branch has a continuous form. Sometimes the master adds additional “tanob” (small shoots) to the main branch “yak raftor” that eventually creates a complex pattern.
One of the products of woodcarving – lawkh – in ancient times was used as a stand for books. Currently, lawkh is mostly a gift item. The one made by A. Fayzullaev (1994) is not only technically perfect, but differs in its compositional unity and integrity, dimensional harmony of its moving parts.
In addition to the manufacture of household items, A. Fayzullaev participated in designing of the State Museum of History of the Peoples of Uzbekistan, the “Blue Domes” cafe, the State Museum of Arts of Uzbekistan, the Gallery of the National Dress, the Palace of International Forums “Uzbekistan”, buildings of the Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan, as well as prestigious construction projects in our country and in a number of foreign countries.
The magnificent carved doors of the Palace of International Forums “Uzbekistan” are fully consistent with the concept of the building. The composition was called “The Sun of Spring”. It has a profound meaning: through various symbolic images, Artyk Fayzullaev celebrated a peaceful and prosperous life of the peoples of today’s Uzbekistan. The splendid carved doors, made by the master, reflect the main idea of the building in harmonious unity with its architecture. At the same time, they convey the most interesting traditions of the Tashkent school of architecture – the wood carving. A. Fayzullaev has manufactured six monumental carved doors for the palace. Each door has a height of 5 meters 20 centimeters, and the width of 2.5 meters. The composition of the doors, symmetrically located in threes on the north and south sides of the building, is of the same type, which also reflects the unity of the concept (the sun and its rays). Complex patterns in the composition, performed in the technique of smooth carving, testify to the high skills of the woodcarving artist. Traditional double carved doors harmoniously formed a single ensemble with other parts of the modern building, while at the closing of the door leaves, a panel with a solid composition gets formed. The patterns are cut to a depth of 1 cm, mostly in the “islimi” style, and the hem of the doors is decorated with geometric patterns, which on the surface of the entire composition are arranged in particular order: small, medium and large ones, creating a “play” of light and shades on the surface of the doors. In the upper part of this piece of art, the “mihrab” pattern is carved. On the rear of the ornamental doors a unique composition of a combination of geometric islimi patterns and symbolic ornaments has been created. In fabrication of these doors, A. Fayzullaev used traditional material, retaining its natural color and quality.
On occasion of the 20th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the exhibition “The Tree of Eternity” was held in the halls of the Centre for the National Arts, which contained over two hundred carved works made by Artyk Fayzullaev, his apprentices and other craftsmen.
The famous master of the Tashkent school of woodcarving – Artyk Fayzullaev – makes a huge contribution to the further development of this kind of the applied arts, embodying the centuries-old artistic traditions of the Uzbek people.


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