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PhD in History, Chief Researcher, State Museum of Oriental Art
In Central Asia, modern studio jewelry art came to life in the late 1970s and 1980s. It replaced traditional folk jewelry. It this article the author investigates the characteristic features of both traditional and modern jewelry. She singles out the main difference between a folk craftsman and a modern artist-jeweler as the latter’s greater freedom of creative choice; while the folk craftsman was circumscribed by tradition and limited information, modern jewelers who position themselves as artists strive to create something unique and able to be copyrighted. Today there are three main trends in the art of Central Asian jewelry that demonstrate specific uses of both traditional and new materials. The first one, that may be called “traditional school,” practices the copying of old forms, techniques and materials. Another group of artists work in the “ethnic style,” creating images inspired by traditional culture but not copying old forms or decorative motifs. They use traditional filigree techniques in order to express their artistic imagination as well as satisfy the needs and tastes of their customers. The third, “avant-garde,” group of contemporary jewelers work in an original style based on personal interpretations of local cultural traditions. They explore new materials, such as wood, leather, felt, silk and animal bone that were never used before in local jewelry.
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