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Mamur Rakhmanov

The Ancient Aesthetics of Protective Adornment from Bukhara

Mamur Rakhmanov, a jeweler from the ancient Uzbek city of Bukhara, has dedicated himself to creating elaborate earrings, brooches, and pendants in the iconic Bukhara style. Jewelry was an important element in the culture of Central Asian tribes. As Bukhara had been a major site for artistry, scholarship, and trade along the Silk Road, the Bukhara style, which often features complex filigree, semiprecious stones, enamel, and engraving, developed from a variety of cultural influences and belief systems including Zoroastrianism, Islam, and Judaism. Until the beginning of the 20th century, Bukhara jewelry was distinguished by its diverse functions: ideological, aesthetic, socio-economic, utilitarian, and as a signifier of age and family status. 

“I learned the art of jewelry making from one of the famous jewelers in Bukhara. He taught me the skills of this art, along with the different kinds of techniques and technological features, and secrets,” says Mamur. His work features combinations of gold, silver, and brass, as well as gems, semi-precious stones, and niello, a black mixture of powdered metals used as an inlay in etched and engraved areas. “I like traditional Bukhara designs and always follow this tradition we inherited from the masters of previous generations. The classical Bukhara forms, shapes, materials, metals, patterns, and techniques are the main motif in all my artworks. My jewelry artworks are typically featured with sun and moon motifs, flowers motifs, dragon heads, birds, fish, hearts. All these are considered to be Bukhara patterns.”

While pieces for contemporary everyday wear may be relatively simple, historically, for special occasions like weddings, Bukharan jewelers would make elaborate sets of ornaments that demonstrated wealth and acted as protection against ill will. Many people still believe that jewelry protects them from illnesses, problems, and bad luck, as well as in battle and while hunting. With skill and fine attention to detail, Mamur continues the centuries-old legacy of Bukhara jewelry.