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Next volume by Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan project dedicated to collection of Museum of Applied Arts

Next volume by Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan project dedicated to collection of Museum of Applied Arts

The next project by the Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan in World Collections is dedicated to the collection stored the Tashkent State Museum of Applied Arts and the History of Handicrafts.  

 

The publication will be presented at the 5th Congress of the World Society for the Study, Preservation and Popularization of the Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan in September 2021. 

The story of its glorious collection should begin with the famous Polovtsev House — a magnificent masterpiece of architecture, a unique old mansion that still adorns Tashkent. Its fate is inextricably linked with the names of two people who played an active role in its life. The first one was Alexander Alexandrovich Polovtsev, a Russian diplomat, orientalist and collector, a member of the Turkestan Society of Archaeologists, who arrived in Tashkent from St. Petersburg in 1896. He fell in love with local art with all his heart and began collecting works of art made by local artisans – carpets, embroidery, ceramics, transferring all the items to the collection of the Museum of Applied Arts in the Salt Town in St. Petersburg.

 

By a happy coincidence, Mikhail Stepanovich Andreev, a native of Tashkent, the grandson of a common soldier, a graduate of the Turkestan Teachers' seminary, a polyglot who brilliantly knew Uzbek, Tajik, Arabic and Kazakh, joined Polovtsev as a secretary. Naturally, Andreev became interested in studying ethnography, history, archaeology and art. And, on behalf of Polovtsev, he acquired from the Tashkent entrepreneur N. I. Ivanov's the "house of a rich person", which was rebuilt under the supervision of architect A. A. Burmeister. It was decided to embody the best achievements of the national architectural decor in the interior design, and Andreev invited the best folk artists from all over Uzbekistan, each of whom left his mark in the decorative design of the building. This was how the construction of Polovtsev's house began, which became an invaluable artistic object.

 

In 1904, the reconstruction of the old house was completed, and in 1906 A. A. Polovtsev was assigned to Bombay, and never returned to Central Asia. Up until 1910, his relatives lived in the beautiful house he had left, then the property was sold to other private hands.

 

The subsequent history of the Polovtsev House is full of twists and turns and unrest: in 1916, after the First World War, Austrian prisoners of war exiled to Tashkent were placed in it. In 1918, after the October Revolution in St. Petersburg, the house was municipalized and transferred to the city housing fund. Until 1937 , it housed: an orphanage, where children were taken from the Kazakh steppe, whose families were dying out due to the unfolding prodrazvyorstka campaign, a pedagogical college, a school of factory training for railway workers in Tashkent, a training center for ganch carving and embossing and an embroidery workshop. 

 

In 1937, when the Museum of National Economy of Uzbekistan was liquidated, the Handicrafts Department became a permanent independent exhibition, the opening of which was timed for the 20th anniversary of Soviet power. The central hall of the Polovtsev House with a room adjacent to it was transferred by a special resolution of the Council of People's Commissars of the UzSSR to the Board of the Industrial Cooperation of the UZSSR for the organization of an Exhibition of Applied Art. Since 1937, the building housed the Museum of Handicrafts, which in 1960 was named the Permanent Exhibition of Applied Arts of Uzbekistan. 

 

Despite the diversity of the exposition, about which you may learn below, the most expressive and central exhibit of the Museum is its interior decoration, or rather, interior design.

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