Ornamental Traditions: Jewelry from Bukhara

  • through June 30, 2019
  • The Art Institute of Chicago
Located in present-day Uzbekistan, the Emirate of Bukhara (1785–1920) was an important center of Islamic religion and scholarship and a major oasis on the famous Silk Road that traversed Central Asia from ancient times. As such, it was highly diverse—home to the majority Uzbek and Tajik populations in addition to communities of Arabs, Jews and Turkmens who played a role in the emirate's vibrant trade. Over time Bukhara developed its own iconic style of jewelry characterized by intricate blue enamelwork that mirrored the region's blue-glazed, tiled architecture. Russia's colonization of Bukhara in 1866 brought with it more advanced enameling techniques, allowing for increasingly complex designs. In almost every context, the jewelry of Bukhara embodied great meaning and was rarely considered mere decoration. The exhibit brings together nearly 50 jeweled objects from the Central Asian region of Bukhara and rare ikat and embroidered textiles. The jewelry and decorative objects presented in this exhibition offer an exceptional experience of a rich and vibrant artistic heritage rarely seen outside the former Soviet Union.
Art Institute of Chicago
Qur'an Carrying Case, 1890 or 1891. Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

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