Saturday, November 3, 2012

Abul Kasim Madrassah and Some Antiques


Abul Kosim Madrassah is one of the few antique buildings still existing in Tashkent. It is a fine example of Uzbek architecture of XIX century. It used to be a religious school (naturally, if it is called 'madrassah'), and now it houses a number of arts and crafts shops (and some of them are also workshops - the artists are working right there and you can observe the process).

We went there for a walk with my friend. The October morning was lovely - so full of soft light. Even these rusty grape leaves look beautiful, lit by the sun.

This is one of the shops I mentioned: they sell Rishtan style blue ceramics. Rishtan village in Ferghana valley is famous for their blue and green pottery which is very popular on of course widely imitated. I am not sure if the clayware in this shop is authentic Rishtan, and it is not that important to me, either. I will take pictures of fine Rishtan examples when I find them.

This is a balcony on the second floor. The building has two floors; the second was mostly occupied by scholars who lived there. On the first floor, they have some small rooms, too, and a couple of big ones which might have been used as lecture halls.

Here you can see an artist carving wood, and many doors and balconies in the background. Those are the doors to all those tiny rooms I mentioned.

A bush with red berries in the yard. I do not know what it is, but I am sure it is not edible or I would recognize it. Beautiful, anyway!

We decided to make a small photo session for several pieces from my friend's collection. He is a dealer in Asian antiques and owns a lot of beautiful things - Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Tukmen, Karakalpak rugs and carpets, vintage and antique china and pottery, various accessories, lots of Uzbek, Tajik and other vintage clothing, lewelry, etc.. This time he brought two decorative plates, a teapot and some textiles with him and we used the old walls as a photo prop.

This plate in ikat pattern is more than 100 years old and I think it is by Kuznetsov factory.

Here you can see a handwoven ribbon with tassels - it was used to tie a bundle with a bride's possessions when moving to her husband's house. If I remember correctly, it was made by the Uzbek tribe of Lakai who were renowned for their crafts. There is also a lovely small Kyrgyz rug in the background.

This is that rug, it is very finely made and supple, and the indigo blue is just breathtaking!

Now, I am quite bad with all this pottery. I think this one (which is also painted in ikat style) was by Gardner (and thus it is older than the previous one because the factory used to be called Gardner and then it was bought by Kuznetsov and then there was revolution). I will have to ask Rustam to clarify.

Two beautiful suzani in very vivid colors. Both are antique which is hard to believe given how bright they are - as if made yesterday.

A mistery teapot; looks like made in Kashgar, but the mark says 'made in Japan'

...The pictures are made by me, save for the first one, but the pottery and textiles are owned by Rustam, who maintains a very interesting Facebook community 'Uzbek Suzani'. I will ask him to tell us more about these pieces. He certainly told me a great deal, but I am very good at forgetting! But even if I do not remember something (well, almost nothing), they are a pleasure to behold, are not they?

I have some vintage and antique items at home and I actually use them; what about you? Do you like old things or you prefer everything modern and new?


  1. Beautiful things and beautiful fall photos, love it.

  2. Beautiful photos! I'm so glad you left a comment on my blog as now I've discovered yours! :)
    I love when they convert older buildings to house artists and craft shops. We have one here that used to be a torpedo factory from World War I until the end of WWII in 1945, and it was converted into a space for artists' studios. You can go and watch them work during certain times and buy artwork as well.

    1. A torpedo factory - how fascinating! I would love to see it. And it is very interesting to observe work in process, and maybe feel at some point that you absolutely must own it :)

  3. As usual - I enjoyed reading the story! Keep educating us :)
    I liked the plate - it's colors are stunning.

    1. I like the small one; the big one does not seem beautiful at all to me. I wonder what Rustam sees in it :)

  4. Your images are always stunning...and it's wonderful to learn about these beautiful antiques.

    I have lived with antiques my whole life, there is such a history and patina in older items that cannot be duplicated. They are treasures, but they should also be part of everyday life.


    1. Jen, thank you, I am very pleased that YOU like my photos - I admire your photography.

      I tend to use vintage things a lot. I handle them with due care but I use them; I feel like they would prefer it that way :) they do not like to stand in the cupboard gathering dust. I wear vintage clothing and use vintage housewares.

  5. Such gorgeous pictures! Those suzani are so beautiful and bright, so hard to believe they are antiques =O

    1. Thank you, Rhye! I was surprised myself! They do not look like 100 years old at all.


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