Mesmerizing Central Asia

A photo journal from faraway

From the awe-inspiring monuments of Samarkand and Bukhara down to the everyday ritual objects used in baking bread, washing hands, and preparing for marriage, artisan handwork has literally built a way of life in Central Asia. This set of images from Afghanistan and Uzbekistan focuses on the non-textile tradition of the region where woodcarving, metalsmithing, pottery and tile making can be seen both in the historically grand as well as in the everyday.

The domes and minaret of Bukhara, Uzbekistan create a striking skyline.

Inside a tiled madrassah of Samarkand, Uzbekistan where pupils used to study, a performer now sings as part of a performance for tourists.

The turquoise, green and yellow pottery from Istalif, Afghanistan echoes the colors of tile found in the region’s madrassahs and mosques.

A pottery salesman in Istalif, Afghanistan proudly shows off wares in his stall.

A potter works in his studio in Gizhduvan, Uzbekistan.

In additional to decorative pottery, the purely functional is also in high demand. Here a potter in Qsaba, eastern Afghanistan near Jalalabad, prepares a tandoor used for baking bread

Star-shaped tiles adorn the walls of Shah-i-zinda, a necropolis in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, parts of which date back to the 11th century.

Pottery fragments found during an archeological dig outside of Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

Exterior walls and door of the summer palace of the last emir of Bukhara, known as Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa (which translates as Palace of the Moon-Like Stars), which was built in the late 19th century and is located several miles north of Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

Two men show off painted chests called sunduk in which a bride collects items as part of her marriage dowry in the Bukhara, Uzbekistan market.

Antique water pitchers lined up for sale in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

Carved wood, plaster and tile meet in a doorway in the old section of Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

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