Crit­i­cal Source of Cul­tural Her­itage

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The Sec­ond In­ter­na­tional Congress “Cul­tural Her­itage of Uzbek­istan: the Way to Di­a­logue Among Peo­ples and Coun­tries” opened in St. Petersburg on June 6.

It is or­ga­nized by the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Elec­tronic Me­dia of Uzbek­istan (NAEMM) within the frame­work of the in­ter­na­tional mul­ti­me­dia project “Cul­tural Her­itage of Uzbek­istan in the World’s Col­lec­tions”. Over 200 sci­en­tists, ex­perts, diplo­mats, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of pub­lic, so­cial and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, mass me­dia from more than 30 na­tions of the world take part in the congress. Con­trib­u­tors to the fo­rum are the lead­ers and cu­ra­tors of the ma­jor mu­se­ums and aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions from Uzbek­istan, Aus­tria, Great Bri­tain, Ger­many, Iran, Rus­sia, Poland, France, Turkey, the Czech Re­pub­lic, Swe­den, Ja­pan and other coun­tries, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of UN­ESCO, ISESCO, IRSICA, ICOMOS, prom­i­nent sci­en­tists, in­clud­ing aca­demi­cians, pro­fes­sors, doc­tors of sciences.

The main event of the congress took place at the Gorky House of Sci­en­tists of the Rus­sian Academy of Sciences. The gen­eral ses­sion is com­ple­mented by seven sec­tional aca­demic dis­cus­sions on arche­ol­ogy, his­tory, East­ern manuscripts, nu­mis­mat­ics, tex­tiles, arts and crafts and paint­ings from Uzbek­istan.

A unique event on the eve of this fo­rum was the open­ing of six si­mul­ta­ne­ous ex­hi­bi­tions of Uzbek her­itage in the lead­ing mu­se­ums of St. Petersburg – the Rus­sian Ethno­graphic Mu­seum, the In­sti­tute of Ori­en­tal Manuscripts of the Rus­sian Academy of Sciences, the Kun­stkam­era, the Rus­sian Na­tional Li­brary, the State Mu­seum of the His­tory of Re­li­gion, the In­sti­tute of Rus­sian Lit­er­a­ture (Pushkin House).

The congress in­cludes pre­sen­ta­tion of the next five vol­umes of books and al­bums of the se­ries “Cul­tural Her­itage of Uzbek­istan in the World’s Col­lec­tions” as fol­lows: “The Col­lec­tion of Ger­man Mu­se­ums” (Ber­lin, Bam­berg, Dres­den, Hamburg, Leipzig, Lübeck, Stuttgart, Her­rn­hut); “The Col­lec­tion of the State Mu­seum of the His­tory of Re­li­gion” (St. Petersburg); “The Col­lec­tion of the State Mu­seum of Arts of Uzbek­istan” (Tashkent); “Car­pet Weav­ing of Uzbek­istan: A Tra­di­tion Pre­served Through Cen­turies” (Uzbek­istan, Rus­sia, Spain, USA, Canada); “The Art of Mav­er­an­nahr in the State Her­mitage. Part II” (St. Petersburg).

Par­tic­i­pants are to en­joy also the pre­sen­ta­tion of new doc­u­men­tary films ded­i­cated to the preser­va­tion of the his­tor­i­cal legacy of Uzbek­istan in the mu­se­ums of Rus­sia, Great Bri­tain, In­dia, France, Ger­many, Ja­pan, and the Czech Re­pub­lic.

In ad­di­tion, the fo­rum par­tic­i­pants will be able to get ac­quainted with the 13 vol­umes of books pub­lished in the frame­work of the project “Ar­chi­tec­tural Epig­ra­phy of Uzbek­istan”.

A pre­sen­ta­tion of the fac­sim­ile copy of the man­u­script “Za­far­name”, stored in the col­lec­tion of the British Li­brary, is in­cluded in the agenda of the fo­rum.

The par­tic­i­pants are of­fered a rich cul­tural pro­gram. They en­joy ex­cur­sion on the mo­tor ships along the Neva River, a gala din­ner at the Park Inn Ho­tel Prib­altiyskaya with per­for­mance from the leg­endary Yalla band, and a treat from Uzbek cui­sine on the ta­bles.

On the eve of the congress in St. Petersburg, an Uzbek­istan To­day cor­re­spon­dent talked with the aca­demic leader of the project “Cul­tural Her­itage of Uzbek­istan in the World’s Col­lec­tions” Ed­ward Rtve­ladze.

- Ed­ward Vasilievich, you were ‘pre­sent at the cre­ation’ of this project. Please tell us about how it was born.

- Speak­ing about the birth of the project, I would like to re­call how it all be­gan. The spring of 2015 can be con­sid­ered the date of the birth of the project “Cul­tural Her­itage of Uzbek­istan in the World’s Col­lec­tions”. Its sig­nif­i­cance was un­der­stood by all who stood at the roots. The idea, voiced by the au­thor and project man­ager Fir­davs Ab­dukha­likov, was unique and at the same time com­plex. Dif­fi­cul­ties that arose on the way of its im­ple­men­ta­tion were re­ally quite a few. But even more has been as­so­ci­ated with sci­en­tific dis­cov­er­ies, tri­umphs and achieve­ments. Af­ter some time, the cre­ative group of the project was formed, a de­tailed ac­tion plan was de­vised, the ge­og­ra­phy of the cov­er­age of mu­se­ums and li­braries in which cer­tain items of Uzbek her­itage were kept was de­ter­mined.

Rus­sia was the first point of ref­er­ence not by ac­ci­dent. Firstly, it is in this coun­try that the largest num­ber of items of Uzbek arts is con­cen­trated. Sec­ond, many spe­cial­ists work­ing now in mu­se­ums and li­braries in Mos­cow and St. Petersburg are from Uzbek­istan, pupils of the Tashkent sci­en­tific school. The first to re­spond was the Deputy Di­rec­tor of the Mu­seum of the Ori­ent, Doc­tor of Arts Ti­gran Mkr­ty­chev, who is one of the ‘sons’ of the Uzbek fun­da­men­tal school. Then the first al­bum was formed. It was fol­lowed by fur­ther large-scale and la­bo­ri­ous work.

- What is the se­cret of suc­cess and sur­pris­ing speed of the project?

- The se­cret of the project de­vel­op­ment, which many for­eign sci­en­tists are im­pressed with, is that the Pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan Shavkat Mirziy­oyev pays per­sonal at­ten­tion to the is­sues of sup­port­ing aca­demic science, con­sol­i­dat­ing the sci­en­tific po­ten­tial and up­lift­ing the role of science in the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try. As the head of state re­peat­edly noted at meet­ings with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of science, time de­mands that we raise all walks of life as much as science to a new level of de­vel­op­ment, be­cause with­out that it is dif­fi­cult to ad­dress the press­ing is­sues fac­ing the so­ci­ety.

To­day, the need for fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of sci­en­tific co­op­er­a­tion with the world’s lead­ing in­sti­tu­tions, uni­ver­si­ties, aca­demic cen­ters and acad­e­mies of science is ev­i­dent. Com­pre­hen­sive sup­port for science and sci­en­tists is one of the pri­or­i­ties of our state. This idea is re­flected in many de­crees and gov­ern­ment res­o­lu­tions. As for our project, the is­sues of preser­va­tion, re­search and pop­u­lar­iza­tion of the cul­tural legacy of Uzbek­istan are at the cen­ter of at­ten­tion of the Pres­i­dent. And it is this at­ten­tion and the cre­ation of ap­pro­pri­ate con­di­tions that is the bench­mark for the suc­cess of the project.

- What prin­ci­ples, sci­en­tific meth­ods are im­bued in this project?

- The em­bod­i­ment of the idea of the project went in two di­rec­tions - science and pop­u­lar science. This is due to the fact that the books pub­lished, ac­cord­ing to the idea of the au­thors, should not only re­flect the sci­en­tific side, but also pop­u­lar­ize the cul­tural her­itage of Uzbek­istan both in the coun­try and abroad. As for sci­en­tific meth­ods and prin­ci­ples, the project is guided by ex­pe­ri­ence de­vel­oped by both do­mes­tic and for­eign science. The re­mark­able def­i­ni­tion of the out­stand­ing physi­cist Michael Fara­day was the cor­ner­stone of the un­der­stand­ing of science: The main task of real science is the col­lec­tion of ma­te­rial, its pro­cess­ing, anal­y­sis and gen­er­al­iza­tion. Our project is built on the prin­ci­ples de­vel­oped, in par­tic­u­lar, in re­la­tion to the study of the cul­tural her­itage of Uzbek­istan by the na­tional school headed by Pro­fes­sor M. Mas­son and his wife, the out­stand­ing sci­en­tist Galina Ana­tolievna Pu­gachenkova, and other cel­e­brated rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the aca­demic school of Uzbek­istan - L. Rem­pel, Ya. Gulyamov.

The books pub­lished of­fered a huge amount of ma­te­rial col­lected, es­sen­tially lit­tle known pre­vi­ously to a wide range of sci­en­tists. For some spe­cial­ists, some of this ma­te­rial is per­haps fa­mil­iar, but in the broad­est sense, its cat­a­loging and re­search had not been there. The project uses a sys­tem­atic ap­proach to the pub­li­ca­tion of data. When ac­quaint­ing with a va­ri­ety of pub­li­ca­tions and al­bums, the aca­demic staff of the project did not en­counter, for ex­am­ple, sys­tem­atiz­ing the ma­te­rial on Dutch or French paint­ings stored in di­verse mu­se­ums and col­lec­tions around the world, and pre­sent­ing it in a sin­gle al­bum. There are sep­a­rate vol­umes ded­i­cated to the works of Van Gogh, Rem­brandt, Ital­ian artists, but there was no sys­temic pre­sen­ta­tion of their artis­tic legacy. That is per­haps the most cru­cial sci­en­tific value of our project, namely, a sys­temic ap­proach to the study of the cul­tural her­itage of Uzbek­istan, which has hun­dreds of items stored at home and abroad.

It is es­sen­tial to em­pha­size that the vol­umes con­tain tremen­dous re­li­able, fac­tu­ally ver­i­fied ma­te­rial with clear data – in­di­cat­ing the place of ori­gin, de­scrip­tion, date. The prin­ci­ple of rig­or­ous sci­en­tific anal­y­sis was ap­plied in its prepa­ra­tion.

- Ar­ti­cles are con­trib­uted by na­tional au­thors as much as for­eign spe­cial­ists, aren’t they?

- Yes. Each vol­ume con­tains an­a­lyt­i­cal ar­ti­cles de­voted to this or that area of cul­ture. They are writ­ten by many au­thors – Rus­sian, Euro­pean, Western spe­cial­ists, mu­seum and li­brary em­ploy­ees, and Rus­sian sci­en­tists. Such a sym­bio­sis, built on the achieve­ments of world science and the ex­per­tise of our spe­cial­ists, yielded a pos­i­tive ef­fect.

Joint work al­lows to not only pub­lish books, but also de­velop mu­seum busi­ness in dif­fer­ent coun­tries. Hitherto, many items of the Uzbek her­itage had not been at­trib­uted to and were stored, as they say, ‘in vain’, only oc­cu­py­ing a place in the stocks. The project made it pos­si­ble to de­duce many, of­ten unique items from the shad­ows, to study and iden­tify their wor­thy place in his­tory.

There­fore, there are sev­eral mu­se­ums in one of the pre­sented al­bums on Ger­man col­lec­tions alone, namely, Ber­lin, Dres­den, Stuttgart, Leipzig. The col­lec­tion of objects from Uzbek­istan was kept even in the mu­seum of the city of Lubeck. Mean­while, very few peo­ple knew that that city has such a col­lec­tion.

- The ter­ri­tory of Uzbek­istan has been in­tereth­nic from time im­memo­rial. How do the books re­flect the cul­ture of var­i­ous eth­nic­i­ties who lived in this re­gion?

- This is an­other im­por­tant prin­ci­ple of the project: the au­thors and the cre­ative group did not ad­here to the prin­ci­ple of eth­nic ex­clu­sive­ness and com­mit­ment to the opin­ion that the pub­lished her­itage is the prop­erty of only the ti­tle eth­nic­ity. It is the prop­erty of all peo­ples who have in­hab­ited the ter­ri­tory of mod­ern Uzbek­istan since an­cient times. Over time, it ac­cu­mu­lated in the mod­ern cul­tural her­itage of the Uzbek peo­ple. For ex­am­ple, in Surkhandarya and Kashkadarya, Kun­grat Uzbeks, one of the largest Uzbek tribal groups, live. They still keep the tra­di­tion of mak­ing koshm. These felt car­pets are dec­o­rated with Hel­lenis­tic or­na­ment – the mi­nan­der – a snake, a bro­ken line elab­o­rated in An­cient Greece that even­tu­ally be­came an in­te­gral part of the cul­ture of the Uzbek peo­ple. And there are a lot of ex­am­ples of such sym­bio­sis in the mod­ern cul­tural her­itage of Uzbek­istan.

- What do you see as the main ob­jec­tive of this project?

- Un­doubt­edly, our books will be of use to many na­tional and for­eign sci­en­tists study­ing the cul­tural her­itage of Uzbek­istan, since they rep­re­sent the most im­por­tant source of in­for­ma­tion, of­ten lit­tle known, and they of­fer also a foun­da­tion for fur­ther re­search. These books are in fact the most crit­i­cal source ma­te­rial for a more con­crete and in-depth un­der­stand­ing of the great her­itage of our coun­try in all the di­ver­sity of its man­i­fes­ta­tions. And I con­sider this the prin­ci­pal aca­demic sig­nif­i­cance of the project.

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