Ceramics of Uzbekistan. Fergana Valley sights
Rishtan is a small town in the south of the Fergana Valley, 50 km from the city of Fergana, known since ancient times as a unique center of Silk Road ceramics.
Pottery is one of the most ancient handicrafts in the territory of Uzbekistan. Archaeological excavations in the territory of modern Rishtan revealed, among other treasures, craftsmen’s quarters with kilns for burning clay dated to the 2nd-1st century BC.
In each region boasts its own ‘trademark’ ceramic style, colour range, technique and ornamental patterns, by which specialists can unmistakably identify the place it was produced in. The main distinguishing feature of the Rishtan ceramics is the intricate ornamentation full of oriental charm made in all shades of blue, turquoise and aquamarine.
Today Rishtan is Uzbekistan’s main ceramics centre known across the country and abroad by its wonderful ceramic items. There are over 100 masters in pottery, highly professional ceramists, working in Rishtan. However, there were times when almost all men in the town were potters. To this day there still exist in the town family workshops, in which pottery making secrets are passed from generation to generation.
In Rishtan ceramic items are made of the local red clay, while the blue glaze ishkor is produced of mineral colourants mixed with ashes obtained through burning of certain kinds of plants (masters often keep components, proportions and technologies secret).
The ceramic ware produced in Rishtan differs from that manufactured in other ceramic centres throughout Central Asia in the rich variety of colours, forms and ornamental patterns. Plant motifs with ancient symbolic elements predominate in the décor. Painted ceramic kitchenware (lagan dishes, plates, kosa bowls, pialas and teapots), figured vessels, vases and jugs – this is but a small portion of what you can find in the shop of a Rishtan master. Unique Uzbek tableware decorated with traditional decorative patterns is the most preferable among tourists as souvenirs from Uzbekistan.
Places to visit and top sights in Rishtan:
- Pottery workshops of Rustam Usmanov and Alisher Nazirov, where you can see the process of producing unique hand-made ceramics.
- Mosque and Mausoleum of Khodja Ilgor (XIX century).
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