The State Museum of Applied Arts of Uzbekistan is located in Tashkent, in the former palace of the Russian diplomat Alexander Polovtsov Junior. The history of the formation of the future museum begins in 1927 with the organisation of the exhibition in which the best masters of Uzbekistan presented their works, over time it became a permanent institution. The works that had accumulated over the years served as the basis for the exhibition of the Museum of Arts and Crafts of Tashkent, founded in 1937, which was later renamed the Museum of Applied Arts of Uzbekistan.
In the vaults of the museum there are several thousand art objects that fully reveal the history of the development of arts and crafts in Uzbekistan, such as embossing, jewellery, woodcarving and ceramics, as well as the original technique of gold embroidery.
All the objects stored in the museum are divided into three sections. These are the objects of applied art created according to the rules of the old traditions and schools, works of art of the second half of the last century created according to the canons of the folk masters. The last, third group are the works of modern craftsmen, using traditional ornaments products, taking into account the development of modern branches of creative activity.
No less interesting for visitors is the museum building, which is a specimen of architectural and decorative art of the late XIX century. Talented master carvers worked on the interiors.
The core of the museum collection consists of works created during the Soviet period, but you will also find earlier works and contemporary works of applied art. Visitors can also see pottery – jugs, vases, services, vessels and other items created by recognised national ceramics centres. The porcelain pieces are captivating for their ornamentation and the skill of the artists, who often used motifs from poetry in their work.
Hand embroidery also captivates many museum visitors. It is characterised by the diversity of techniques, as almost every region has its own unique style of embroidery. The exposition presents samples of woodcarving, here you can see carved doors and columns, furniture, caskets, tableware, decorated with this type of handicraft. Ladies should be especially interested in jewellery – head, breast, shoulder and hair jewellery, as well as rings and bracelets.
The collection is decorated with gold embroidery, musical instruments, lacquer miniatures and paintings on wood, crystal and glass, carpets and palaces, skullcaps, traditional costumes.
From time to time, performances by national dance groups and displays of traditional costumes are organised for visitors. In the courtyard of the museum there are souvenir shops where you can buy various handicrafts as a souvenir of your visit to this original country.
Visitors from many countries recognise the popularity of Uzbek handicrafts, as each item is unique in its own way. No one can remain indifferent to beautiful objects of human creation. The applied arts and crafts of Uzbek artisans contribute to the treasury of traditional culture not only of their own country, but also of the world cultural heritage. The original Bukhara carpet or the national silk cloth represent the distinctive spirit of these eastern countries. Wooden and ceramic works, engraving and jewellery bear the warmth of their creators’ hands and their aesthetic vision of beauty.
As an official of the Ministry of the Interior, Polovtsov was sent to Tashkent to investigate resettlement issues in Central Asia. His secretary Andreev found and bought a house for him in the city, which was later rebuilt in the Oriental style. The best masters of painting, woodcarving and ganch were brought in to decorate the palace interiors. One of the most brightly decorated rooms in the building is the central hall, which was intended for receiving noble guests. Its walls are decorated with richly ornamented gunch carvings and were also decorated with tempera paints.
The room’s three-storey wooden ceiling is covered with ornate paintings; columns decorated with carving and painting were erected to support it. The fireplaces, which are an example of the skill of the carvers, successfully blend into the interior. When you enter the hall, you want to linger at the door to study its graceful openwork carvings. Other halls, though not as rich, are also tastefully decorated with wood and plaster carvings and murals. In 1970, additional rooms were added to the historic main building to increase the exhibition space.