Islam Karimov Foundation

The Renaissance of Uzbek Silk

In collaboration with Uzbekistan’s Permanent Delegation to UNESCO, the Islam Karimov Foundation has published a full-colour volume dedicated to the centuries-old silk weaving tradition which is based on Ikat techniques.

“The Renaissance of Uzbek Silk” – published in four languages (Uzbek, Russian, English and French) – tells the story of silk from its origins right up to the classic Uzbek Ikat produced today.

Ikat is the original, unique tradition of silk weaving, a craft carefully passed down through the ages from generation to generation and preserved to this day as a priceless cultural heritage of the Uzbek nation.

From the days of the Eastern Renaissance up until now, the skill of Uzbek masters has brought the world fabrics renowned for their rare beauty and harmony. And today, too, Ikat continues to travel the Silk Road, remaining true to its ancient origins while blending the historical and cultural treasures of many nations and civilizations, both past and present. By lovingly preserving the time-honoured techniques of Ikat silk weaving, Uzbek masters have ensured this true cultural heritage of the Uzbek nation can now enjoy a new period of renaissance in the 21stcentury.

An exhibition entitled, “The thread uniting generations” was held in the Tashkent House of Photography from 23 June to 12 July 2017. This project backed by the Islam Karimov Foundation aimed to popularize the unique folk art of silk-weaving, using the example of the creative legacy and present-day activities of the outstanding Margilan master weavers of the Mirzaakhmedov dynasty

The creative legacy and the characteristics of the technological methods and artistic quests of this famous dynasty, the hereditary abrbands, or master weavers of Margilan, were revealed for the first time in the format of an exhibition project.

Rasul Mirzaakhmedov is one of the most brilliant and creative representatives of this dynasty, who is successfully developing the art of traditional silk-weaving. Turgunbay and Rasul Mirzaakhmedov have restored the lost traditions of such unique fabrics as the Bukhara “A’lo bakhmal”, a special type of fabric used only for festive clothing. In addition, they have revived the apparently long-forgotten “olacha”, as well as “turma-belbog”, a Khorezm fabric for sashes.

His father, the hereditary master weaver Turgunbay Mirzaakhmedov, devoted his life to studying hand-weaving, perfecting his art and preserving centuries-old traditions. He successfully revived the production of types of silk fabric such as shoyi, bekasab, adras and banoras, which had been undeservedly forgotten.

The project aims to promote the revival and development of Uzbek silk-weaving, enhance the social status of master folk weavers and encourage the more active advancement of the production of modern master abrbands in the domestic and international art markets.