Ancient silk techniques kept alive in Margilan

Ancient silk techniques kept alive in Margilan
By Seamus Kearney

Visitors to Uzbekistan rave about the marvelous blue domes, minarets and ancient fortresses, but there is also plenty to see in terms of arts and crafts.

The ancient techniques of silk production, for example, are renowned here, with the city of Margilan in the eastern Fergana region a popular place where tourists can see the traditional, hand-spun methods up close.

Check out our video where local school children show off some of the locally-made garments.

Also, see our video of raw images from a fashion show in Margilan, with contemporary and traditional designs on display.

The various garments in the video are the work of designers Nilufar Toshtemirova, Nargiza Sherhodjaeva and Nilufar Abduvalieva. The traditional pieces are from the Gallery Rascul Collection.

The Yodgorlik Silk Production factory is just one of the places where techniques that go back hundreds of years are kept alive.

Ikat is the name of the technique used here, whereby the individual threads are dyed before being weaved on traditional wooden looms.

The silk products produced here include scarves, dresses, hats, carpets, tablecloths, cushions and bed covers.

Silkworm cocoons from mulberry trees are used. Visitors can watch as workers carefully remove the silk from the cocoons in large basins of water.

It is fascinating to see how everything is done by hand, with no mechanical machines in sight; just the wooden spindles, spinning wheels and looms.

The colours are chosen carefully, in keeping with the local traditions.

The Crafts Development Centre in Margilan is also a place to visit to see local arts and crafts made by local people.

The gorgeous Uzbek hats produced here are perfect souvenirs, and there´s a whole range of different fabrics and garments.

Everything is made by hand, just like in numerous other workshops around the city.

The local crafts men and women don´t seem to mind being observed as they work and it´s possible to ask for a guided tour.

The artists painstakingly put the finishing touches to intricate work that reflects the country´s past.

Some 30 percent of people in Margilan – a city of town 220,000 – are said to work in the arts and crafts sector.

Copper work is also very popular here, as well as embroidery.

And after soaking in all of the different artwork and designs, visitors can stroll around the peaceful grounds of the complex that houses the crafts centre.

The beautiful colour show continues as you look up towards the ceiling!

You might also like