Lushly textured, intricately patterned, and riotously colored—not to mention steeped in history, Uzbek rugs have enthralled collectors for centuries. Once part of the Persian Empire, Uzbekistan artists have a long tradition of creating exquisite textiles, passing skills from one generation to the next. Master artisan Fatillo Kendjaev, raised in a family of weavers, has an interest in making textiles which extends far beyond simply creating pretty rugs.
For some of his work, Kendjaev derives inspiration from 14th and 15th century miniature Uzbek paintings, extracting themes or patterns which translate into exceptionally unique carpet designs. In other cases, he adapts Uzbek ikat into striking carpet patterns. All of his colors come from natural sources, like pomegranate and grape skins, for example, as well as walnut shells and mulberry leaves and madder root.
It hasn’t always been easy for artisans like Kendjaev to create work and sell it. Under Communist rule in the 20th century, Uzbek crafts were looked at with suspicion, thought to be too closely tied to feudal history, and therefore antithetical to modernizing society. Thankfully, however, since the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Uzbek artists and craftspeople have approached their creative practices with renewed vigor.