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Ganch carving is one of the unique and ancient forms of artistic crafts of Uzbekistan. The art of carving ganch in Central Asia and Uzbekistan represents the artistic style and the specific technical design of unique school. The history of this craft dates back to the III-IV centuries. To this day preserved ancient monuments such as Varakhsha Palace, the governers’ residence of the “noble Bukhara.” Ganj is known cementitious material in Central Asia, which is prepared by burning special rock containing gypsum and clay. In ancient times it was used as a plaster for the walls or a solution for sticking bricks. But boundless imagination and talent of craftsmen transformed simple alabaster into an exquisite decoration of palaces and mosques. For many centuries ganch reached the heights of true art. Plastic, fast-setting, malleable in the processing and at the same time extremely hard when dry, it has a nice velvety surface and a soft white color.
In the arsenal of the carver “ganchkor”, there are more than a dozen of tools to create the most complex patterns, the so-called “pardoz”es. Masters themselves invented templates for ornament, the most beautiful and successful of which, craftsmen collected and stored all their life. This was the main wealth of ganchkor, which has been handed down from father to son. A true master (usto) have always had students -chuldren of the carver anf his neighbours’ ones. Thus over the centuries dynastys evolved, and the whole village, and sometimes the city became known by the skill of local craftsmen.
This flourishing of this art came in the XVIII-XIX centuries, when not only a mosques and houses of the nobility were adorned, but also the homes of the common people. This period is characterized by the development of methods, techniques, types of threads, the creation of local schools. In the late XIX – early XX centuries. in Uzbekistan Khiva, Bukhara, Tashkent, Samarkand and Fergana were the centers of ganch carving. From the earliest times geometric and floral motifs were used in the ornament pattern. There are a lot of a lot carving methods, different in styles, depth and complexity, but the real master owns all the subtleties and tricks of the craft. He skillfully combines dozens of varieties of finishes, creating a vivid white gypsum composition. Sometimes it is difficult to determine where one stroke ends and the other begins, so they merge organically in each work.
Depending on the type of gunch, its shades ranging from light gray to light yellow, making technique of carving on the two-color or multi-color plaster appeared. At the beginning of XX century ganch carving on the mirror surface was created, which gives glamor and easy decor. Generations of Uzbek artists have managed to maintain and bring to the present day the secrets of his amazing craft. Most of merit in this belongs to the wonderful Tashkent hereditary ganchkor usto Mahmoud Usmanov, who defended the traditional decoration in modern architecture. Nowadays carved ganch in Uzbekistan is the most widely used as architectural decoration in the construction of residential houses, theaters, clubs, cultural centers and other public buildings. Ganchkors designed and made in all sorts of material fixtures: sconces, floor lamps, table lamps. Sleek slit pattern in these products like light lace script.
Today, ancient graceful carving successfully combined with contemporary architectural design. Nowadays the evolution of this art form shows the decoration of several administrative buildings in Uzbekistan, as well as the State Library named after Alisher Navoi, the hotel “Tashkent”, the Uzbek State Theater of Musical Drama named after Mukimi, Metropolitan Palace “Turkistan”, Tashkent tower chimes, architectural gems of thrу capital – the State Museum of History of Timurids and other architectural objects. Modern ganch carvers became renowned for their work and continuing artistic traditions of various schools are M. Usmanov, Z. Yusupov, W. Tahir Karimov, M., H. Abdullaev, A. Sultanov, Pulatov, M. Rakhmatov , H. Muradov, F. Hamdan, A. Samad R. Ibadov, Odilov Yu, B. Yakubov, O. Babadzanov, O. Yakubov and many others. The main centers of ganch carving remain Khiva, Bukhara, Tashkent, Samarkand, Andijan, Namangan and Kokand.