Tag Archives: nowruz

Fabulous Suzanis, Terrible Toilets and Buzkashi

Counting the Cost of Nisha's Negotiations

We drove from Termez into the hills heading to Shakhrisabz via the remote mountain district of Baysun. We were told there was a family we must meet as they keep tribal embroidery alive. When we arrived we were certainly not disappointed. The couple explained with actions how they had to behave as newly weds. The mother-in-law ties the belbog around the waist of the son-in-law when he arrives for the ceremony, signifying the need to stay strong. The gentleman has to cover his face with a belbog to show respect while the ladies had to wear a kurta with a duppi and white veil to cover the head and face for a year after the wedding in front of their in-laws. The family belong to the Kungrat tribe (also known as Onggirat or Qongirat, one of the main Mongol groups in the region) who have Alpamish as their warrior hero who, with …

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Uzbekistan Beckons

Shılpıq, Karakalpakstan

Nisha and I are off to Uzbekistan on the 27th. Can’t believe it’s actually happening! Four months ago, I didn’t even know where Uzbekistan was and now, it’s like I have travelled there a million times on the virtual silk roads of our times. And that’s even before I’ve physically got there!

We’ll be crisscrossing the country in search of craft that flourished in the 13th century when, besides trade, artists and artisans met and interacted along the silk routes. It is believed that ceramists from China were summoned by the great conqueror Amir Timur to teach the potters of Fergana the secret behind their brilliant blue porcelain. The nomads that traversed the Central Asian steppes frequented the silk roads to trade their suzanis, kilms, jajims (tribal blankets) and carpets. Miniature painters from China would inspire royal painters of Central Asian dynasties to document the life and times of their …

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