Exhibition: Turkestan Journey

Asia House - Turkestan Journey

Exhibition dates: 19 April – 12 May 2016

Turkestan Journey is an exhibition of traditional jewellery and textiles from Central Asia, dating from the nineteenth to the early twentieth century, from the collection of Almaly Company from Kazakhstan.

The collection was started just twenty years ago and encompasses the works of craftsmen from Western Kazakhstan, who embodied the very finest traditions of national jewellery making and art, as well as accessories from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Karakalpak area and Kyrgyzstan. It also includes elaborately embroidered robes from Bukhara and national costumes from Tajikistan and Turkmenistan regions as well as filigree belts from Crimean Tatars.

This jewellery differs significantly from region to region with each tribe having its own ornament and chosen semi-precious stones. For instance, jewellery from Khorezm may be distinguished by its carnelians and large round corals inset within pendants and necklaces. Turquoise, pearls and mother-of-pearl were beloved stones of the jewellery-makers of Khorezm and Bukhara.

The exquisite items selected for this exhibition (almost 60) represent all types of ornaments worn in this part of the world during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The full and amazing diversity of Central Asia is laid bare here: from the richly decorated head bands of Uzbekistan and large silver gilt heart-shaped hair ornaments of Turkmenistan to the richly patinated and time-worn stylish silver Kazakh rings.

This private collection, comprising more than one thousand different types of jewellery and textiles from Central Asia, is of great importance to the development and understanding of cultural identity. Not only is it vivid evidence of the preservation of valuable museum pieces, but also a chance to see the cumulative and cultural experience gathered by the artisan jewellery-makers of the region throughout their rich and varied history.

A talk to accompany this exhibition will take place at Asia House on 26 April. The evening talk is free to attend but booking is essential.

For more information, please visit the website of Asia House, London.

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