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Artistic and Literary Traditions of Central Asia.

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Presentation on theme: "Artistic and Literary Traditions of Central Asia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Artistic and Literary Traditions of Central Asia


3 Afrasiab

4 Ornamental art is characteristic of Central Asia Forms derive from typical local features (desert vegetation, rams’ horns, shapes of nomadic yurta (tents), moon and sun. Forms are stylized and abstracted. Prohibition of representation of living organisms by Islam reinforced ornamental tendency.



7 Issyk Kurgan (burial mound) near Almaty, Kazakstan where “Golden Warrior” was discovered

8 Scythian (Saki) 5 th Century BC Gold warrior’s burial costume from Issyk Kurgan (near Almaty in Kazakstan) Replica in UN (New York)

9 Sythian warrior’s burial costume Gold detail of ram’s heads from headress

10 Runic inscription on ancient silver chalice (Almaty, Kazakstan) Indicates existence of indigenous alphabet of Turkic peoples residing in Central Asia before advent of Islam

11 Karakhanid mausoleum (10 th -11 th Centuries) Near Osh, Kirgizstan

12 Left doors to Karakhanid mausoleum near Osh

13 Turkestan, Kazakstan: Mausoleum of Khodja Akhmet Yasavi XIV Century Gates in Fortified Walls

14 Turkestan,Kazakstan: Mausoleum of Khadji Akhmet Yasavi 1405 Pilgrimage site of Muslim cult

15 Mikhrab: 10th-11 th Century Asht (Tadjikistan) Mausoleum of Abrulla ibn Bureida: 11 th Century Grand Bazar (Turkmenistan)

16 Turbat Mausoleum of Ismail-ata 19 th Century

17 Mausoleum of Babadnen-Khatun 10 th -11 th Centuries

18 Gur Emir Tomb of Amir Timur (Tamerlane)

19 Samarkand: Tillia Kari Medressa Constructed in 1647-1666 in reign of Ulug Beg, grandson on Timur Medressa is a seminary or college

20 Samarkand: Tillia Kari Medressa Interior of gold-gilted dome

21 Registan

22 Khiva: Arzkhona aivan Carved and painted wooden structure and ornaments Aivan (or aywan) is an open summer terrace with canopy on a raised platform

23 Khiva: Carved wooden doors Juma Masjid (masjid means mosque in Turkic)

24 Ceramic tile work from Shakhrizabz (birthplace of Amir Timur)

25 Seamstresses in Samarkand sewing gold thread embroidery onto camisole (kamzol) or vest

26 Nauryz celebration (pan-Turkic New Year) in Almaty, Kazakstan

27 Crafts shop Handcrafted brass ware and knives

28 Silk carpet Caucasian Kazak design Handmade in Samarkand

29 Carpet Factory

30 “The Battle” Painting by contemporary artist Shamil Guliev Incorporates elements of traditional Central Asian art into modern view of the world

31 “66 Lions” Contemporary artist Shamil Guliev

32 Central Asian Music Characterized by improvisation It is the vehicle which preserved literature for centuries (all poetry was sung to musical accompaniment) The earliest musicians of Central Asia were the shamans who healed through magic

33 The dombra or dombira is a pear- shaped wooden instrument with three or more gut strings. The dombra or dombira is common to most of Central Asia

34 Kiu = wordless melody played on dombira Kiu can tell a story or depict a scene

35 This kiu depicts horsemen galloping across the steppe.

36 Akyn or bard performs songs or tales accompanying himself on the dombira

37 Rakmanqul Berdibai (Kazak Academy of Sciences, Folklore Department) plays kiu on dombra

38 Folk Instrument Orchestra of Kurmangazy Conservatory (Almaty, Kazakstan)


40 Kobyz is an ancient bowed instrument made of wood, camel skin and horsehair strings. The most famous composition for the kobyz depicts the death of a swan shot by a hunter’s arrow.

41 Central Asian literature was long preserved by oral tradition Until recently prejudice has endorsed written literature and devaluated oral literature. Oral tradition emphasizes improvisation. Akyn or bards with extraordinary memory chanted epic poetry and demonstrated skill at improvisation.

42 Manas Kirgiz national epic poem At least 1000 years old Blends mythology with tale of migration of Kirgiz people from Enisei basin

43 Yusuf Khass Khadjib Balasaguni, “The Knowledge of Royal Happiness” (1069)

44 Alisher Navoi (1441-1501) Divan or Khamsa (a collection of five narrative poems) Illuminated manuscript in Beruni Institute of Oriental Studies (Tashkent)

45 Majlis or feast at home of Alisher Navoi Miniature from manuscript of “Majnun and Laili” 16 th Century

46 Alisher Navoi Miniature from illuminated manuscript of narrative poem entitled “Seven Planets”

47 Abai Kunanbai (1845-1904) Poet and teacher Father of written literature in Kazak

48 Mukhtar Auezov (1897-1961) His novel “The Path of Abai” (1949) won the Lenin Prize for literature

49 Auezov’s drama “Enlik and Kebek” (a Kazak Romeo and Juliet) first performed in this yourta in 1917 marked the beginning of Kazak theater.

50 SUMMARY Central Asian art is typically ornamental Central Asian music is characterized by improvisation. Central Asian literature place a high priority on oral tradition. The epic poetry of Central Asia embodies the moral aspirations and values of its people and constitutes a record of the history of Central Asia

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