Wood Carving – Uzbekistan’s Cherished Treasure

November 5, 2012 19:20

A shrine in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Photo - Fazal Khaliq

High-style traditional wood carving attracts tourists everywhere in Tashkent. Whether it is wooden doors, beams, pillars, furniture, Holy
Quran stands, boxes, daily use items or decoration pieces; one has to find a real mastery of local artisans in wood carving. Many of the
Uzbek houses are also full of wooden decorations.

“This craft left by our ancestors has a high value in our tradition. Many of the ancient master pieces of wood carving have been unearthed
during the excavations at different places from the ruins of the 6th, 11th and 14th centuries. The fragments of the ancients times confirm
the high skills of our ancient masters with beauty and perfection,” Ismaeel, a wood carver in Tashkent, said while adding that Uzbek style of wood carvings had developed by the late 18th and early 19th centuries and has a great demand in present day.

wood carvers

Artists working in a workshop in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Photo - Fazal Khaliq

Three main styles in wood carvings demonstrate are Bagdadi, Islim and Pargori in which Bagdadi style is the most common in Tashkent. Karagach, Platan, Walnut, Central Asian juniper, Willow, Mulberry, Linden, Apricot and Poplar are commonly used for different purposes in wood carvings.

“We use only traditional and time-proven tools for wood carving like tesha, planes, frame-saws, cross-cut saws, mallets, chisels etc with
more than 25 different cutting tools.” Ismaeel said while pointing towards his tools.

wooden doors

Photo - Fazal Khaliq

Many famous museums can be seen ornamented with the craft. The intricate carvings of great masters attract tourists before going into any building. It is unusual to go unnoticed of the beautiful stylish doors of these museums. Particularly, the craftsmanship on the doors of State Historical Museum of Uzbekistan, Palace of People’s Friendship and the Art Museum of Victims of Repression in Tashkent, is worth seeing indeed.

“We have a real pride in wood carving as it reached us from our ancestors. We love to see it in every object of our life therefore we value it,” a customer said who was exploring some decoration pieces in a wood carving shop.

uzbek artisan

An artist busy carving wood in a workshop in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Photo - Fazal Khaliq

Abdul Aziz, 20, is a great master of the craft and presently works in a display centre at the Hazrat Imam Complex. He takes pride in the craft too, and told that our hand-made pieces are very popular. “Many visitors to the complex also take interest wood carving and buy it. It is a profitable job too which helps me earn a modest income,” the artist said while adding that he was greatly inspired by his master Azlan Akmal.

wooden tables

Wooden craft kept on display at a shop in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Photo - Fazal Khaliq

Handmade wood carving is extremely popular applied arts in Uzbekistan with fretted doors and pillars are widely used for building
decoration while many decoration pieces with daily use attract Uzbeks in today’s hi-tech world as it is something absorbed in their
tradition from ancient times.

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