The Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris highlights the remains and treasures of Uzbekistan in an exceptional exhibition.


Copyright : fondation pour le développement de l’art et de la culture de la République d’Ouzbekistan – Laziz Hamani

An unprecedented exhibition

The Arab World Institute in Paris is currently presenting an unprecedented exhibition. Entitled on The Roads of Samarkand, Wonders of Silk and Gold, it highlights here and for the first time outside the museums of Uzbekistan, the treasures of this country. In total, more than 300 pieces are brought together to present the era of the last emirs in an enchanting scenography. The more curious will notably be able to discover sumptuous chapan coats and gold-embroidered accessories, painted wooden saddles, silver horse harnesses set with turquoise, precious Suzani embroidered hangings, carpets, silk ikats, as well as jewelry and costumes from the nomadic culture.


Copyright : fondation pour le développement de l’art et de la culture de la République d’Ouzbekistan – Laziz Hamani

The renaissance of artisanal splendours

“On the Roads of Samarkand” magnifies the renaissance of artisanal splendours in the 19th and early 20th centuries, constitutive of Uzbek identity. Textiles, like the powers of the Islamic world, play a key role in this; Bukhara embroidery, in particular, occupies a special place among the many art forms of Uzbekistan. It was during the Emirate of Bukhara (1785-1920) that gold embroidery reached its peak and its fame in terms of technique, quality and above all creativity. A number of splendid and monumental productions – chapans, dresses, headdresses, saddle cloths mixing colors and gold – reserved for the court and for diplomatic gifts were exclusively made in the private workshop of the emir and bear witness to his opulent art of living.

A broader perspective of the society of the time

Many other pieces are to be discovered throughout the exhibition, offering a broader perspective of the society of the time, including the famous ikats and their anthology of colors, weavings resulting from ancestral techniques, and regional stylistic specificities. from Khorezm, the Ferghana Valley or the Karakalpak region, where accumulations of jewelry extended the female wardrobe. A land of inspiration for painters At the turn of the century, Turkestan – a territory that covered the future republic of Uzbekistan – was the destination of choice for many artists from Central Asia and Russia. New art schools were created in the 1920s; an Uzbek school is born, of which Alexandre Volkov (1886-1957) takes the head. The painters will discover this territory and find in the richness of the landscapes, shapes, colors and faces of Central Asia a unique inspiration. This is how we find, in the subjects worked, the carpets, suzanis, chapans and ikats presented in the exhibition, each artist approaching this quest for elsewhere and exoticism by following his own style.

Institut du Monde Arabe

1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, 75005 Paris

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