This is an unusual book for me to review, but it is so gorgeous and would make such a perfect gift, I had to share it with you. Of course, in my opinion books are always great gifts, but if you’re looking for a spectacular book that can be enjoyed as an art object, and if you are looking for something different for people who love colouring books, I bring you:
Uzbekistan: An Experience of Cultural Treasures to Colour by Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva.
From the blue and gold splendours of Samarkand to the holy city of Bukhara, the architectural heritage of Uzbekistan is simply extraordinary.
Over the 2,000 year history of the Silk Road, its fertile oases have attracted countless travellers and conquerors who have profoundly made their mark on human history, such as the conqueror Tamerlane or the scientist Ulugh Beg, who discovered the sundial. All have bequeathed an inheritance whose legacy can still be admired today.
By its geographical position, Ancient Uzbekistan was created from a melting pot of different cultures. Iran, the Eastern Steppes, Siberia, India and China have all added their own influences on the local arts. Over the centuries, due in many parts to the Silk Road, these exchanges have continued to grow. Cities such as Samarkand, Bukhara, Tashkent and Khiva became famous in the Middle Ages not only for their cultural wealth, but also for science.
In homage to this rich heritage, this book is a celebration of the arts and pictorial traditions of Uzbekistan. Photographs of architectural works, murals, ceramics, tapestries and ornamented textiles highlight the country’s cultural treasures, accompanied by short texts explaining their historical significance. On the right-hand page, the reader is given the opportunity to color in their own drawings based on the beautiful photographs provided.
About the author:
The author was the daughter of the previous president of Uzbekistan, diplomat, philanthropist, and had been delegate of Uzbekistan to UNESCO for a number of years. She has run charities for children, worked to promote gymnastics in her country and has always promoted her country’s literary, historical, and cultural heritage.
Thanks to Rosie and the whole team at Pen & Sword for providing me a hardback copy of this gorgeous book that I freely chose to review.
This is not one of the usual books I review, but over the last few years I’ve become acquainted with adult colouring books through my mother, who loves them, and when I saw this one I realised this was something a bit different from most of the colouring books I’d seen. First, this is a hardback book, and it is not about a subject like flowers, or animals, or even a film. It is a book that promises “an experience of cultural treasures to colour” from Uzbekistan, and it does deliver. The book contains photographs of places, objects, ornaments, textiles… It is divided into distinct sections:
- Architecture: with photographs of ancient temples, palaces, and modern mosques and other buildings, with brief explanations of the history and the significance of the building, in one page, and in the opposite page, the drawing to colour (in some cases of the reconstruction of the ancient building).
- (Here I loved the winged horses and the beautiful geometrical ceiling decorations).
- Ganch carvings. Intricate and beautiful, this section includes several pages of designs for free colouring, without corresponding photographs. In case you are not familiar with ganch carvings (I didn’t know the name but recognised it when I saw pictures), you can find more about it here).
- Here, there are some deceptively simple and some incredibly detailed (like the one featured in the cover of the book). I’m a big fan of mosaics and loved this section.
- Glazed bowls. If you love pottery, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one.
- The textiles section includes some richly coloured woven carpets, amazing dresses (iroki embroidery) and gowns.
- These are fairly recent and incredibly beautiful as well. Although there are some fairly modern in style, others make one think of the Arabian Nights.
The quality of the print, the paper, the colours, the selection of contents, and the sheer beauty of the book is a joy. It is perhaps such a pretty object that I am not sure that many people will dare to colour it and risk ruining it, but I can see it inspiring many, and also making many people wonder about the country and its history.
If you are looking for an unusual present for somebody who loves colouring book, or simply somebody who might appreciate a beautiful book about the arts, craft, and architecture of Uzbekistan, I’d recommend it.
Ah, and observe that Pen & Sword are offering a great discount on the book at the moment, if you buy it directly from their website (and the price is very reasonable nonetheless).
Thanks to Rosie, to Pen & Sword and the author for this wonderful book, thanks to you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, and review, and always, always, keep smiling.