The lush Fergana Valley, where Central Asia’s silk production began with two cocoons hidden in the headdress of a royal Chinese bride, is divided among three of the five ‘Stans. In the Uzbek portion of the valley, visit Rishtan and Margilan. The village of Rishtan is famous for its ceramics. Pottery became prominent in this region due to the unusual amount and excellent quality of locally accessible raw materials – red clay and pigments made of minerals and mountain grasses. Modern Rishtan ceramics are characterized by elaborate floral and geometric designs in bright blue and green hues painted on a creamy white background. The skills used to produce Uzbek ceramics have been passed down father-to-son for countless generations. In Margilan, shop at the colorful local bazaar and tour the workshop of a silk master, where silk is prepared from silkworm cocoons in the ancient way, and woven in the traditional patterns of the Fergana Valley.
PUBLISHED: February 5, 2013