Gijduvan ceramic pottery began in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, the 3rd century AD and is renowned for its distinct floral patterns in green, brown, and blue. Abdulla Narzullaev is a 6th generation master of this craft, learning from his father, Ibodullo Narzullaev, also famous for his mastery of ceramics. By the age of 14, Abdulla was creating his own pieces on a pottery wheel and continuing the traditions of the Gijduvan ceramic school. Today, Abdulla uses more than 100 traditional ornaments and patterns for painting, some with histories that span centuries. His plates, dishes, bowls, and vases are used in everyday life in his community.
Abdulla uses traditional methods and local raw materials in manufacturing ceramics. In his workshop, he and his family make more than 50 traditional forms on a pottery wheel and all glazes are prepared in house. Pieces are fired in a traditional kiln using wood, petroleum, or natural gas. Abdulla estimates that each piece of ceramic passes through expert hands approximately 24-25 times in its creation.
Wanting to save the traditions of Gijduvan ceramics by passing them on to new generations, Abdulla teaches the craft to members of his family, community, and exchange students from the likes of Afghanistan, New Zealand, and Japan. Part of his workshop has been dedicated to the Museum of Ceramics in which Abdulla displays his collection of ceramics from around Uzbekistan and is visited annually by thousands of people, locals and foreigners alike. Abdulla has participated in more than 100 national and international exhibitions including the International Siberian Ceramic Festival and the International Ceramic Festival held in Wales. “Clay is my life,” he says. “If you can feel the clay and listen to what it says, you can do whatever you want, any shape, any form, any design.”