Rishtan is one of the wonders of the Fergana Valley. The city is famous for its ceramics. It is located fifty kilometers from Kokand and Fergana. In 1977 it was a small village located twelve kilometers from the railway and was called Kuibyshevo. Today Rishtan is a modern, fairly large city, with a population of twenty two thousand five hundred and eighty people, it is the administrative center of the entire Rishtan region.
Like almost all cities in the east, Rishtan is famous for its fragrant melons, the sweetest apricots and amber-emerald grapes. But these are not the main advantages of the city.
Rishtan does not have a huge number of preserved antiquities, but what remains will not leave anyone indifferent and visitors will want to return here again and again.
In the heart of Rishtan there are the ancient mausoleum and mosque of Khoja Ilgor, which have an unusual shape, which has not found analogues in the whole of Central Asia. Created in the sixteenth century, this building is probably one of the most unusual and mysterious buildings in Uzbekistan. The legend says that Khoja Ilgor was a shelter for wandering dervishes and simply tired travelers, there they never denied anyone accommodation and food. The founder was the writer Khoja Ilkhor (Pakhlavan Mahmud), he was also the patron saint of Margilan. The dervishes took food together, but each slept in a separate cell (the cells were cramped, small, without windows, rooms with uncovered floors, windows appeared much later). At the end of the nineteenth century, both the mosque itself and the Khoja mausoleum were rebuilt on the site of ancient ruins and burials. During the reconstruction, the Margilans wanted to build a dome covered with majolica, but decided to keep everything as it was and restored the unglazed, elongated dome, resembling in its outlines the hat worn by the dervishes. Nowadays, Khoja Ilkhor is a refectory where both men and women can take food and recuperate, moreover, they all eat together, and the dishes are prepared in different kitchens. The kitchen for women is covered with beautiful tiles, and the kitchen for men includes several cauldrons and a fabric awning.
The city of Rishtan can be safely called the most ancient center of ceramic and pottery art in Central Asia, moreover, with its unique, developed by the inhabitants themselves, the technology of producing ceramic masterpieces.
Unlike the surrounding areas, in Rishtan they were able to preserve the technology of creating ceramics in the future, develop and increase the skill of producing ceramic products.
The distinction and uniqueness of Rishtan ceramics are visible in the color palette, ornament and form of products. The color range is characterized by the presence of turquoise, brown and blue shades on a snow-white background, achieved using a mixture of glaze with cobolt. As for the pattern, it is not geometric; here, on the contrary, preference is given to drawings in the form of picturesque vegetation. The turquoise or blue background in the east symbolizes the sky and water, so these colors are the basis of the decor.
Naturally, every visitor of the city will not be able to pass by and refrain from acquiring a "visiting card" of the city, made by the skillful hands of the masters of the city of Rishtan. After all, all handmade products are therefore unique, and the secrets of production are passed from father to son, so whole dynasties appear.
Among the most famous masters of Rishtan of our time, Rustam Usmanov and Alisher Nazirov should be noted. Today's Rishtan is world famous thanks to the author's works of these famous ceramists-artists.
If you have a desire to visit Rishtan, be sure to visit the workshop of Rustam Usmanov, which is located on the territory of his family estate. Walls decorated with dishes of our own production, household items, bowls, teapots, braids and much more, speaks of the creative nature of the owner. You will be able to observe for yourself the birth of another masterpiece, decorated with a unique pattern, on a potter's wheel. Here, with your own eyes, you can observe the firing of products.
In the house of Rustam Usmanov there is not only production, but also a museum has been created in one of the rooms of the estate, where you can see not only the works of the ancient masters of the eighteenth-nineteenth centuries, but also the works of modern ceramic artists.
Alisher Nazimov is a prominent representative of the profession of ceramic artist. His author's hallmark on his own products is the emblem - a blue bird, symbolizing the appearance of happiness in the house and bodom (translated as almonds), identified with the wings of a blue bird and representing a talisman against the evil eye. Many people buy products as a talisman that brings happiness.
In many of the artist's works, the leitmotif is a "crosshair" (this is a pattern called chor-teal), symbolizing one of the ancient symbols of the cardinal points, various elemental whims of nature, seasonality of the year, home warmth, comfort and fertility, helps to preserve warmth and unity in the family, also contributes to prosperity, wealth and well-being.
Alisher Nazimov was one of the first in a large family to pay attention and interest to the production of ceramics, at the age of twelve he began to adopt the secrets of the craft from experienced craftsmen, and already in 1975 he got a job at the Rashtan ceramics plant. After some time, he became the main artist. Later, his brother, Bakhtiyor Nazirov, joined him, and their children also entered the business.
To further develop and improve his knowledge and skills, Alisher Nazimov went to study in Japan, to the Isokichi Asakura school of ceramics. Therefore, examining the lagans painted by the master, one can notice the influence of the Japanese-style graphic school. The master never repeats creating his works, they are always unique. One of the features of his work is the interweaving of ancient and modern styles in the decor and forms of products, all products are handmade only.
Ceramic products created by craftsmen of Rashtan are not only beautiful jugs and plates made of clay, but they are also talismans and amulets for their owners. Every dash, every curl is filled with sacred meaning. At the sight of these works of ceramic art, an irresistible desire arises at least to touch them, to pick up, preserve and protect these fragile masterpieces of Rishtan.
Having visited the city of Rishtan, you will plunge into the world of the ancient east, get acquainted with ceramic art, visit the mausoleum of Khoja Ilgor, feel the life of the ancient city with its sacral paintings.