Uzbekistan’s arts and crafts culture goes back millennia, to the days of the Great Silk Road. Its skills and techniques have been tightly preserved through a culture of transmission, passed down from generation to generation—from “usto” (master) to “shogird” (young artisan).
From potters to embroiderers, blacksmiths to wood carvers, goldsmiths to jewelers, Uzbekistan’s craftspeople produce truly special items of the finest skills and materials. These include Suzani, silk fabrics, gold embroidery, ornamental knives, intricate jewelry, handmade carpets, miniature paintings and ceramics that come in a kaleidoscope of patterns and colors. With the rise and prevalence of industrialism and the standards of mass production, these unique items handmade by craftsmen have truly become a special luxury.
Created by Yaffa Assouline and images by Laziz Hamani, Living Treasures: Celebration of Craftsmanship is an intimate invitation to discover the arts and crafts of Uzbekistan through some of its talented artisans. The images and dynamic range of work will make readers discover the country and link the glory of the past with the passion of the present, with the craftsmen preserving and innovating in traditional applied arts. The book will be available within the Assouline Classics collection with a silk hardcover, as well as in the Ultimate collection featuring an embroidered fabric clamshell.
Yaffa Assouline has worked as a journalist, consultant and creative art director. She specializes in innovative and made-to-measure publishing. She created the first luxury website on the internet, luxuryculture.com, and developed the first in-flight magazine, Air France Madame, before going on to create customized books and magazines. She authored the book MIA: I. M. Pei, a showcase of architect I. M. Pei’s work for the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, by photographer Keiichi Tahara. In collaboration with the Qatar Museums Authority, where she worked as the creative art director and a senior adviser, she supervised the opening of the Museum of Islamic Art. She is the author of the books Uzbekistan: The Road to Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Avant-Garde Orientalists and Uzbekistan: Russian Avant-Garde, all by Assouline.
Curious, eclectic, demanding, a dreamer and a self-taught man, Laziz Hamani is an exceptional photographer. Of Berber origin, he was born and lives in Paris. He is passionate about creating beautiful images, his life defined by a constant search for aesthetics and meaning. He has worked with many prestigious luxury brands, such as Dior, Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre, as well as with designer Axel Vervoordt, and he has collaborated with Assouline on more than twenty titles. From the finest details of high jewelry to the purity of minimalist design, Hamani aims to bring the viewer into dialogue with the image, to evoke power and beauty through his unique simplicity. He photographed the images for Uzbekistan: The Road to Samarkand.