Artisans from 10 countries present their works at craftsmen exhibition in Taraz
Handicrafts made of wool, leather, felt, wood and even grass were presented at the International Exhibition of Craftsmen 2022 held in Taraz. 200 artisans from 10 countries took part in it. Each work displays a unique color and demonstrates the countries’ identity. Zhambyl craftsmen also showcased their works at the exhibition. There are 78 artisans in the regional center, and most of them make felt products, so this particular craft is planned to become the city’s brand.
“We preferred to specialize in the products made of wool and felt. In addition, when granting the status, the World Crafts Council pays attention to how well it is provided with raw materials. But we have enough raw wool, and we do not even have time to process it. This is a national treasure that needs to be preserved, protected, and which also needs to be modernized and adapted to modern conditions,” said Aidarkhan Kaliyev, member of the World Crafts Council.
“I came here from India, and brought silk products and national dresses from our country to the exhibition. Such events provide an opportunity to get acquainted with the culture and traditions of different cities of the world. We will definitely keep attending them in the future,” shared exhibitor Jabbar Khatri.
Such a large-scale exhibition was held as part of the official inclusion of Taraz in the List of World Craft Cities. It is the first Kazakh city to join the list and rank 57th. In addition to Taraz, Turkistan and Almaty also applied for participation. Experts took into account all the details, starting from the history to the current development of the craft.
“It is not easy to get into the world list, because it is necessary to have a base of professional artisans and a great variety of high-quality crafts. Hence, the continuity of generations is important, because it should be preserved. Young people should be taught these skills. We were convinced that Taraz have such clubs everywhere, including schools, the palace of pioneers and a center for women. Therefore, we have included the city into the world list,” Aizhan Bekkulova, Chairperson of Kazakhstan’s Union of Artisans, said.
Historians say that Taraz, which has a 2,000-year history, was famous for its developed handicrafts and was the main city on the Great Silk Road. This is evidenced by the findings discovered in the area. Over the past half century, archaeologists have found more than 3,500 artifacts in the region, namely, gold, silver and ceramic products.
“In 2015 and 2017, two jugs with unique gold and silver decorations were found during the archaeological excavations at the site of the ancient Taraz city. They date back to the 10th and 11th centuries. Having studied them, the scientists found out that they were created by local jewelers and artisans. This indicates that a decorative and applied art has been thriving in Taraz since the ancient times. That is, it speaks of the development of settled culture,” said historian and archaeologist Sauran Kaliyev.
Based on all the supporting evidence, experts believe that the inclusion of Taraz in the list of World Craft Cities is quite justified. This will expand the prospects of cooperation and allow Kazakhstan to be even more recognizable on the global arena.