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Ikhtiyor Kendjaev

Treasures underfoot

Weaver Ikhtiyor Kendjaev comes from a family steeped in ancient techniques of carpet design and craft. Though he was born in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, a region famed for its textiles, Kendjaev’s ancestors were originally from Afghanistan, and brought with them their own unique creative traditions. The process of carpet weaving and natural dyeing has been passed down from one generation to the next, and today, all members of Kendjaev’s family are involved in the business.

Kendjaev started helping his grandfather weave and dye carpets at the age of 11. Later, he studied innovative methods and fine-tuned his techniques by studying weaving in Isfahan, Iran. Today he maintains a workshop in his home in Bukhara, where he and his team produce around 30 carpets every year. Kendjaev uses camel, goat, and sheep wool, all of which comes from local shepherds. Yarn is spun on a traditional wooden loom, and dyes used are all-natural and rely on regionally sourced pigments. Carpets produced are nothing short of spectacular, featuring a range of rich, vibrant color, and utterly mesmerizing design. Many of Kendjaev’s textiles contain row after row of geometric and stylized floral motifs, their seemingly abstract appearance in fact belying symbols and designs with ancient precedents.

For hundreds of years in Bukhara, residents have treasured traditional and colorful carpets, kilims and runners. In this part of the world, it is believed that sitting or walking barefoot on wool is good for health.