Tajik Golden Heritage

In August 2012, the respected European information and consulting company “Big Media Group” (Brussels) has published with the support of the Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan in the Kingdom of Belgium the book entitled “The Tajik Golden Heritage” authored by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan Mr Hamrokhon Zarifi.

The sixth revised and updated edition of the book “The Tajik Golden Heritage”, comprising over 400 pages, introduces the reader to samples of Tajik arts and crafts from different periods, from the earliest times up to the present.

The book opens with a chapter on “The Tajiks and the Indo-European world” about the ancient and long-standing links between the Tajiks and the Indo-European civilization.

“The Tajik Golden Heritage” is full of photos, pictures and interesting chapters on such subjects as the Oxus Treasure, the Silk Road, the art of the miniature and various forms of Tajik arts and crafts, such as jewellery, metalworking, fabrics, pottery, carving, the visual arts in architecture, national costumes, embroidery and gold embroidery, headwear and footwear, musical instruments and many others.

The author has gathered together extensive information and high quality illustrations and compiled them in this volume. Given this thoroughly researched material, the book succeeds in providing a wide range of readers, with little prior knowledge of Tajik culture, with a solid grounding in the culture of the Tajik people and its contribution to world history and art. It sheds light on the wealth of Tajik culture and, more importantly, on the pride in and attachment of the populations of Tajikistan to their culture. Past and present are intimately linked through the continued revival of living forms and traditions, which fortunately are not viewed as only being of touristic value.

The highly refined degree of detail and expression reveal an elegance and sophistication achieved and matured through profound historical experience. As demonstrated by these arts and crafts, the source of identity of the present fledgling modern state of Tajikistan is arguably one of the world’s most ancient civilizations, dating back to the 5th century B.C.

This book eloquently illustrates how art must be considered as a real living image of a people’s inventiveness, vivacity, tastes and as the image of its desire to create elaborate patterns and forms since the most ancient times to the present day. For the first time in the twenty years of Tajikistan’s independence, this book broadly, distinctly and significantly portrays the features of trends in Tajik national culture and arts.

Combining well-documented archive and museum material, this book provides an opportunity to review many styles and evolutions in textile elements and design. Equally important is the collection of jewellery shown – jewellery design being one of the most ancient and popular art forms in the Republic of Tajikistan. Other sections of relevance refer to costumes, satin fabrics and prints. Metalworking is represented through silver jugs, bronze salvers, cooking pots, plaques, knives and inkpots to name but a few items. The beauty of architectural ornaments lies in the selection of wood – highly figured oak and fine mahogany – and in the decoration of pieces which shows a wide range of handicrafts and artistic skills.

Reading the attentive historical and ethnographical explanations of the book, admiring the picturesque images included in the book you cannot but wonder how Tajik people succeeded in making the transition from the small-scale, ephemeral art of cloth and houses, to the impressive grandiose art, ceremonial art of palaces, governmental residences, summer houses and decorative architecture.

This publication is precious because of the immediacy of its material on location, with professionally performed colourful illustrations which reflect not only the authenticity, but also the texture, the range of colours, and the objects’ relationship with the environment and landscape of mountainous Tajikistan. The book is impressive as a real encyclopaedia of the gems of the arts and crafts, architectural and artistic art of the Tajiks, which has, according to Mr Hamrokhon Zarifi, a heritage stretching back six thousand years!

One can speak for a long time in admiration of the diversity of art of current folk craftsmen, who have managed to maintain the ancient secrets of craftsmanship and the traditional art of predecessors of Tajiks – the Arians, who over thousands of years created their ancient spiritual and material culture, confirming thus their humanity, peacefulness and tolerance. One can just feel it, leafing through the new book by Hamrokhon Zarifi with admiration.

This book is extremely necessary to people, particularly foreign readers, for whom the beautiful art of the Tajik people is still an unknown area.