Bright Flowers: Textiles and Ceramics of Central Asia reveals, in many cases for the first time in published form, some of the spectacular and colourful embroidered textiles and glazed ceramics of Central Asia. It provides a fascinating insight into the material culture and peoples of an area which is becoming increasingly well-known to outsiders.
Central Asia is at the heart of the ancient Silk Road trading routes – it is the fateful land where Alexander met his bride and ultimately his death, and the location for the turbulent legends of Tamerlane and the last Khan of Khiva. The colourful history of Central Asia is matched in intensity by glorious architecture, intellectual achievement and exquisite traditional crafts in a variety of media. From among these treasures, intricate silk embroideries, costume and jewellery from the 19th and 20th centuries and glazed ceramics dating back to the 9th century are showcased in this lavishly illustrated book, which accompanies a major exhibition at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.
The men and women of Central Asia, who now live in the independent states of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, following some seventy years of Soviet rule, are finding their own point of balance between the traditional values and ideals to which they still steadfastly adhere and the expanding opportunities of the twenty-first century. Taking inspiration from Islamic ornament and other traditional motifs, contemporary makers continue to find inspiration in the bright flowers of the oases.