Since ancient times, the Uzbek land has been considered the origin of great civilizations and the cradle of enlightenment. For centuries, powerful rulers, the heads of empires on vast territories changed the course of the history on the Eurasian continent, while the geniuses of science, poetry and art made an invaluable contribution to the development of mankind.
The book-album Historical Personalities in the Masterpieces of the Manuscript Heritage of Uzbekistan is dedicated to these outstanding personalities. It presents miniatures depicting famous historical characters that are directly related not only to Uzbekistan, but also to the world civilization.
A creative group of researchers led by PhD in art studies Firdavs Abdukhalikov, used 300 magnificent miniatures made in the 14th to the 18th centuries, stored in 50 educational, research and museum institutions, to carry out this unique study. These miniatures were provided by institutions such as the Freer Gallery in Washington, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the British Library, the Library of Edinburgh University, the Prince Agakhan Collection, the National Library of France, the National Library of India, the National Library of Egypt and others.
The researchers also made more than 50 trips and established contacts with more than 150 foreign museums and libraries in search of little-known gems of Oriental miniature. This made it possible to personify over 80 statesmen and more than 20 poets, scholars and artists belonging to the Karakhanid, Ghaznavid, Seljuk, Khorezmshah, Temurid, Baburid, Sheibanid and Ashtarkhanids dynasties.
In general, this publication provides additional information not only on the history of ancient Uzbekistan, but also Central Asia.
It should be noted that since 2017, many large-scale initiatives by the country's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev have been implemented in New Uzbekistan to strengthen the role of culture and art in society. Important resolutions have been adopted to improve the system of storage, research and promotion of ancient written sources, as well as to enhance the efficiency in the fine and applied arts field. These initiatives are supported both at the international level and by UNESCO.
The book-album Historical Personalities in the Masterpieces of the Manuscript Heritage of Uzbekistan is a vivid example of the great attention paid to the study and popularization of cultural heritage in the New Uzbekistan. It is important that its creation became possible thanks to the direct support by the Uzbek Government.
People in Uzbekistan are well aware that the study of handwritten monuments and the art of miniatures are among the most valuable keys to the history of the country, taking off a veil from the secrets of the past. This results in the organization of exhibitions of originals and copies of ancient manuscripts, as well as oriental miniatures stored in world collections, museums and libraries. The manuscripts are restored and repaired. In addition, scholars from different countries are working on cataloging the cultural heritage of Uzbekistan, stored in libraries, museums and private collections around the world to publish book-albums.
The international multimedia project Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan in the World Collections has become one of the flagships in the study, preservation and popularization of the cultural and historical heritage of Uzbekistan abroad. Scholars from 40 countries have joined the World Society for the Study, Preservation and Popularization of the Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan, and their work is highly appreciated by reputable experts.
These projects demonstrate the consolidation of public, state and international research organizations, the expert community, as well as socially responsible business in the preservation, study and popularization of the cultural heritage of Uzbekistan. Bringing back the cultural heritage in the form of book-albums and facsimile editions to its homeland is important as a factor awakening historical memory and inspiring young people to reproduce the high scientific and cultural traditions of their ancestors.
The authors report that the research will continue and this publication will develop into a separate series.