Central Asian Art by Vladimir Lukonin and Anatoli Ivanov

By Vladimir Lukonin and Anatoli Ivanov

The stern prohibition at the illustration of the human shape has channeled creative production into structure and architectural ornament. This booklet is a mystical journey via critical Asia - Khirgizia, Tadjikistan, Turkmenia, and Uzbekistan - a cradle of historic civilisations and a repository of the Oriental arts encouraged by way of Buddhism and Islam. There are superb, full-colour photos of the deserted towns of Mervand Urgench, Khiva, the capital of the Kharezm, with its mausoleum of Sheikh Seid Allahuddin, and the Golden street to Samarkand , the Blue urban, a middle of civilisation for 2,500 years.

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P. 47) 45 46 48 All the walls are covered in azure, turquoise, and gold mosaics. The edifices of the 14th and 15th century are dominated by polychrome decoration in glazed bricks and baked clay. The same process is used for the interior decorations and sometimes the polychrome paintings are enriched with gold. Ornamental sculpture on wood or stone also became more important during this epoch. There were also new tendencies in the ornamentation; plant motifs predominate rather than geometrical ones.

The variations in the handling of volumes and the diversity of decorative solutions gave each edifice an aspect of its own. Tilya-Kori Madrasah, 17th century. Samarkand, Uzbekistan. It suffices to compare the groups of karakhan mausoleums of the 11th and 12th Main façade, Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah, 17th century. Bukhara, Uzbekistan. (p. 34) Portal, Turabek-Khanym Mausoleum. Kunya-Urgench, Turkmenistan. (p. 35) 36 centuries at Uzgen, the Sanjar Mausoleum at Merv (mid-12th century), the Fakhr alDin al-Razi Mausoleum at Kunya-Urgench (12th century), the coupled mausoleums Hodja-Machad at Saëd (12th century), to feel all the artistic richness of the buildings of that period.

At Staraia Nisa and Toprak-Kala matrices in baked or unbaked clay have been discovered; the first are moulds of an actor’s mask, his mouth open, the other a simple face with a flat nose, pointed ears, and satyr’s horns. Realistic and expressive, the sculptures of Khalchayan do not define the authenticity of the portrait but only show an ethnic type and the model’s age and temperament. Buddhist influence During the first centuries of our era, Bactrian sculpture received a strong Buddhist influence from India.

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