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Traditional fabrics occupy a special place among popular tourist attractions of Uzbekistan.  04.07.2016 13:22

Many archeological evidences prove the textile art to have been known here long before the Common Era. Ancient cities of Central Asia, through which the Great Silk Road used to run, were always famous for the manufacture of exquisite textiles. The development of sericulture was instrumental in the process. Uzbek fabrics are notable for their unique patterns formed either by alternating color stripes or by iridescent free designs {adras, khan-atlas}.

According to one story, the khan-atlas pattern was created as an imitation of the clouds reflected in the lake. In Uzbekistan, such technique is called abrband {which means ‘’tying a cloud’’}. There is another version to explain the origin of abr fabrics, that is, a rainbow of oil on the rippled water. In any case, the pattern of this traditional fabric is unique. In spite of its complexity, the process of making abr fabrics, which is solely hand work, still remains the same. Silk threads are bundled, and each bundled is alternately immersed in the boiling dyes. Such resist-dyeing creates a blur effect on the pattern. Abr fabrics were widely spread along the Great Silk Road, but nobody knows the exact place of their origin. In the West, these textiles got the name ikat. The word came from Indonesia and originated from the verb ‘’mengikat’’ {to bundle}. The technique of ikat is now known in Indonesia, in Africa and in the Middle East. In Uzbekistan, the abr patterns are formed by warp only, whereas weft is always monochrome. Traditionally, each region uses the best accessible raw materials to make fabrics.

In Uzbekistan, they are silk and cotton, or sometimes rayon to replace silk. The peak of abrband technique in Central Asia fell on the 18th and 19th centuries. The Europeans took it as a symbol of this dreamland. The centers of the silk industry were the towns of the Ferghana Valley, as well Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Shakhrisabz and Kitab. The ikat fabrics were usually used to make luxurious dresses, ceremonial robes and covers of every description, table clothes and blankets. Such clothes were not designed for everyday use; therefore they were carefully kept in large trunks. Interestingly enough, but many silks bear ‘’royal’’ names, like shokhiy {shah’s}, podshokhiy {padishah’s}, khan-atlas {khan’s satin}.Probably, the reason was that only rich people could afford abr silks, the poor ones were dressed in cotton.

Modern abr patterns often represent traditional Uzbek jewelry, like drop-earrings and triangular in shape pendants {tumor}. When a young Uzbek lady got married, she was expected to put on her best jewelry to emphasize the wealth of her family. There was such a saying: ‘’The bride cannot walk because her jewelry is too heavy’’. That implied her descent from a very rich family. Items of jewelry were used as amulets and symbols of health, prosperity and happy life. These symbols gradually occupied their place in intricate textile patterns. Uzbek countries point out that modern Uzbek people display a keen interest in traditional textiles. Evening dresses and wedding gowns are often made Uzbek silks. Smart clothes saturated with oriental motives are suitable for any ceremonial occasion. They attract everybody’s attention and create a festive atmosphere. Modern brides gladly try on attires made of khan-atlas or adras, which immediately turn them into beautiful oriental princesses.

Nowadays, the traditional wear are much more popular than 20 years ago. Both women and men by them. Khan-atlas, bekasab, traditional embroideries are now used not only for solemn occasions but in everyday life too. Much attention is paid to accessories and bijouterie. Our ladies are fond of footwear adorned with national ornaments, or bags and clutches decorated with hand embroideries on khan-atlas. They have appreciated the exquisite charm, and now they do their best to lose no chance to approximate to our culture and traditions.

Amazingly beautiful national fabrics and traditional clothes are in high demand among tourists and guests of our country.


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