Culturally recognizable treasures, Ikat patterned fabrics are one of the most practiced techniques in weaving around the world. Dye-resist ikats explode with gorgeous colors, brilliant designs and sought after textiles.
Central Asian ikats give ample scope for artistic self-expression with dynamic lines, fabulous motifs and kaleidoscopes of color in cotton and silk. Traditional Uzbekistan motifs include abstract florals and animal representations like the pomegranate, almond, and camel tail. There are scorpions and snakes, trees and branches along with inanimate objects like everyday combs and bowls, magic amulets and fertility symbols. During your visits to Uzbekistan you can visit the silk ikat workshops and watch the design and production.
Silkworms were brought to Central Asia along the ancient trading routes. Their gossamer threads were spun into fascinating fabrics under the weaver’s skilled hand and woven into the human passion for luxury items, playing a significant role in the destinies of Europe and Asia entwined with the Great Silk Road. Medieval travelers to cities like Bukhara, Samarkand and Margilan wrote of rich robes embellished with mirage-like patterns that spoke of the wearer’s status and wealth . “Abrabandi” became the common name for the unique ikat of Uzbekistan, literally “cloud tying” whereby the warp yarns (vertical threads) are bound and dyed by hand before being woven with the weft yarns (horizontal threads).
The traditions and customs of the Uzbek people have been shaped by their unique position at the crossroads of the Great Silk Road. The treasures that flowed were not only the ones that can be held in one's hand, but also those that touch the heart and soul. Art, philosophy, science, and religious ideals were exchanged, enriching the cultures of both the travelers and their hosts.
Uzbek culture reflects a beautiful synthesis of these influences, while maintaining its own unique traditions. From the harmony of its architecture to the masterful detail of its applied arts, from the busy, noisy bazaars to the peaceful, laid-back chaikhana, a journey through Uzbekistan is unique and unforgettable.
It will be helpful for travelers to be aware of some of the conventions of Uzbek society. Let's share with you our Sallabandon celebration.