The earthenware is made out of local raw materials. Each region has its own patterns and colours. Someone who knows and values ​​the old traditions is ceramicist Abdulvahid Karimov who learned his craft at Tashkent College. His teacher there was Fasil Mirsaev, a Uighur pottery master from Fergana Valley who passed on an important message: “If you want to do something of your own, you first have to learn what came before you.” Since then Karimov has been collecting pottery from all over the country, studying its designs and colour schemes and further developing them.

What is so special about the traditional ceramics that can be found around Bukhara? The special lustre of these plates and bowls that comes about because the glaze is enriched with saltwort resin. Saltwort (Salsola soda) is a woody shrub that grows in the desert and contains both salt and potassium. It takes two huge carloads and a lot of time, because it’s only when the plant is slowly charred that it releases a resin (after many hours). This is then used in crystallized form as the glaze in pottery workshops.

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