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Uzbekistan has always been a melting pot of cultures. This was reflected in the architecture of the buildings but also in everyday culture. Pottery was also traded on the Silk Road. Uzbekistan has a long tradition of ceramic craftsmanship in many parts of the country. The heart of it is the town of Rishton in the Fergana Valley, where blue glazed plates, finely decorated with symbols of life and fertility, are still produced today. But there are other centres for the craft, such as Gijduvan near Bukhara, where the pottery is coarser and earthier and strongly influenced by the colours of the desert.
Each region has its own tradition and you can recognise the origins of a plate from the sound they make. Pottery from the Fergana Valley sounds like a bell, while ceramics from Gijduvan make a duller sound. This depends on the local clay the ceramicists use. The plates and bowls are traditionally made on a wheel, then stacked on tripods and dried. Only then are they painted, glazed and fired. Originally only natural materials were used.

Text: Karin Pollack
Photo(s): Pauline Thurn und Taxis