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Tajik jewelry making
Enamored with an old Tajik craft.
Tajik jewelry-making, like any other form of cultural self-expression by the people, is an original art. Visitors to this Central Asian republic have always been attracted by the bright garments of the natives and the opulence of ornaments their women use. Russian jewelry designer Vitali Ivanov was similarly enchanted the first time he came there.
For several years he has been living and working in Tajikistan, enamored with its ancient but ever flourishing national art and all these years scrupulously studying all aspects and secrets of its beauty. As somebody who had grown up so far away from these parts, he wanted to probe deep into the creative atmosphere of local craftsmen and to acquire if only a fraction of their skill. He traveled a lot all over the republic, gaining impressions and knowledge of the ethnic culture, all of which was to bear fruit later on.
Among his works are bracelets from the Anor (tajik “pomegranate”) set (filigree and grain in cupro-nickel set with corals and turquoise), a bracelet of hammered white metal, Tavk necklace from the same set (stamped and hammered cupro-nickel). They are not merely fashioned in imitation of folk handicrafts but form the artist’s original ideas promoted by the rich national traditions of this old craft and creatively rendered in metal. Modern artists and designers stand to gain from assimilating creatively the cultural and spiritual heritage of the past, because artistic traditions of jewelry- making embody invaluable experience in workmanship and the fruitful imagination of craftsmen of different nationalities and times.
The art of tajik metalwork is deeply rooted in the past, drawing on the national traditions and customs, and other countries.
Jewelry made by Vitali Ivanov is quite diverse and includes earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings and diadems of variegated ornamentation. Ornamental elements rarely repeat themselves, and the jeweler displays a masterful command and different types of metalwork, now employing forging, now casting or stamping. His artistic taste is manifest in the way he delicately garnishes metal with coral and turquoise.
He is brimming with plans, one if which was to try and “re-create” extinct sets of Tajik national adornments characteristic of different regions of the republic. In the past century every individual craftsmen usually specialized in some particular ornament, whereas Ivanov consciously undertakes to produce whole sets to go with a particular garment, taking into consideration the wear’s age or making jewelry for some special occasion. For instance, one such set is called the Wedding set. He prefers to exhibit his jewelry together with pieces of folkstyle clothes produced by tajik fashion designers. In his opinion this is the only way, perhaps he has a point there. There is no denying the fact that accessories do acquire their ambiance when viewed together with clothes. Conversely, at times fascinating works by modern jewelers lose some of their charm when displayed in shop-windows or on mounts.
The designer spends a vast amount of time drawing sketches, then himself translates them into metal cupro-nickel, using colored glass, pastes and gems (turquoise and coral) for decorations, and produces in this way a consummate artistic image. He knows and always bears in mind the fact that in the old times every adornment also had some magic meaning, still preserved in poetic names sometimes attributed to pieces of jewelry, e.g., koshi tillo-golden eyebrows or mokhi nav - a young moon an so on. In keeping with the old custom, Ivanov gives his jewelry poetic names, like for a example Anor (pomegranate - the symbol of fertility). The set consists of several bracelets and a massive necklace, which has a harmonious look due to its flowing lines, clever proportions and a well-balanced color scheme. An Oriental saying has it, “As long as at least one woman is alive the jeweler’s art will live on.”
Many people fled from the country during the war that began in 1990. Due to this circumstance it is unknown to me where Vitali Ivanov died this year.Someone burned his house during the night in Russia. I will keep my memory about you Vitali. Peace.