Rishtan — Asia Travel


Rishton city is widely known as one of the jewels of the Ferghana Valley. The city is located 50 kilometers from the Ferghana and Kokand cities. Until 1977 year it was a small town which situated twelve kilometers from the railway line, called Kujbyshevo village.
Today, it is quite a modern city with a population of 22,580 people and also is the administrative center of the eponymous district. Rishtan, as well as all of the Ferghana Valley is famous for its fantastically sweet apricots, amber grapes and melons of wonderful fragrant. However, the growing of these luxuries is not its main vocation.
This city from the ancient time is used to be called proudly «The main pottery» of Uzbekistan. And although the country has a lot of amazing, very distinctive regional centers of ceramics, such as Samarkand, Bukhara, Gijduvan, Khorezm, Kokand, Namangan, Gurumsaray and Andijan, only a little known village got such title. Is it considered to be fair?
The art of Rishtan ceramics which originated in antiquity and the history of its rise, covered with a great quantity of legends, is still not opened by archaeologists. Tradition of ceramic art of many neighboring ceramic centers existed in the early XX-th century, to its end were almost completely lost, and only in Rishtan (this is its phenomenon) this art continued to develop steadily over the centuries, preserved its stylistic integrity.
An abundance of local raw materials became the main reason to contribute the development of pottery in Rishtan. Almost all of the components for the manufacturing of ceramic ware, from clay to dye, one could obtain on-site or nearby areas. The city itself has a reddish clay, named hockey surh and local craftsmen believe that: «… their clay is so good that absolutely does not need in the pre-treatment and keeping.»
Nearby, around the city special herbs were collected for making ishkorov glaze, it was namely this one, which gave a juicy emerald and turquoise inherent to Rishtan ceramics. Despite the fact that that the composition of the glaze over the centuries has been remained unchanged, the masters, competing with each other, have their own secrets in the ingredients, proportions and technologies.
Generally, Rishtan ceramics is remarkable for its blue and turquoise colors, which are achieved by adding cobalt into a glaze. A correct geometric pattern painting does not play a big role; the pictures of plants are mostly preferable here. The basis of decor is white pattern on a blue or turquoise background, symbolizing water and sky in the East. Sometimes, an opaque dense glaze of saturated blue color is used on the products, while drawing is kind of appearing from under a thick color of glaze; Such trick is considered to be a «firm» sign of the local decor.
A pottery in the city already underwent all stages of development from home and crafts to a modern production.
By the end of XIX-th century Rishtan city became Central Asia’s largest center fro production of glazed pottery. This was the period of the craft production, where each artist specialized in one of the processes of production or a determined kind of products. There was a strict demarcation between two groups of artists, produced non-glazed and glazed ware.
The first group kuzagary and tanurchi were remarkable molders, made cuzas, hums and other kitchen utensils as well as tonnurs — ovens for baking bread, who considered a glaze to be an extravagance and abuse. Therefore, they apply it extremely rarely. And the second group called tavokchi were the masters for the production of painted glazed pottery. These two groups permanently competed for the right to be called true Kulol potters — the founders and custodians of the traditions of craftsmanship. In each group there was an unwritten set of rules, performed without any question. And possible, owing to this, all the traditions of the local pottery were preserved.
Today, most top-selling dishes en masse — are products of Rishtan ceramic factory, established in 1960 year on the basis of the collective farm of hereditary masters of “Yangi Hayot”. Of course, all these are wonderful, very elegant products. But still they are not to be compared with those made by hand on a potter’s wheel. By the way, there is a fairly easy way to distinguish the handiwork from manufacturing. You just need to turn the product, and even if the bottom is glazed, under certain light you will be able to see traces from the potter’s wheel.
Modern Rishtan is widely known with author’s works of famous artists — potters. Once arrived here, surely visit the workrooms of Alisher Nazimov and Rustam Usmanov.
Alisher Nazimov participated in many national and international exhibitions, he is also the owner of the nominal letters «of the Japanese Society of ceramists.
Handwriting of his copyright works are defined by «Blue Bird», which is able to bring happiness to every home, as well as «bodom» (almond), which many people identify with the wing of the whistling thrush. It is also a talisman against the evil eye and a talisman for good luck. Another theme in his works is obviously «cross» (swastika pattern of «chor-chirok») — an ancient symbol of the world sides, natural elements, the seasons, fertility and the hearth, is able to maintain unity in the family, to bring wealth and prosperity.
Rustam Usmanov is a wonderful master ceramist, whose products are rightly considered to be one of the finest examples of decorative arts in Uzbekistan. Master works at home in his own workshop. An amazing potter — Mahmoud Azizov – friend and colleague of Rustam Usmanov works there together with him. A distinctive feature of the master is the strict adherence to national traditions, perfection and sophistication with rich graphics distinctive patterns. There is a private museum of ceramics in the house of Rustam Usmanov, and if you’re lucky, you will be able to see samples of ancient products, as well as pottery from other regions of the country.
A decorative surprisingly intertwined with functionality in Rishtan ceramics. Everybody will always have the desire to take these products in hands, to admire them, use as intended and try to keep as long as possible this fragile miracle of Rishtan city.