Country: Uzbekistan
Masud Madaliev, chaser from Tashkent

One of the most ancient and advanced types of applied arts of Uzbekistan is the art of metalworking. Basic schools and centers of traditional engraving in Uzbekistan emerged within the bounds of the Uzbek khanates in the seventeenth until early twentieth centuries. Copper-engraved items were part of the urban crafts. The main centers of production of the engraved products at that time were Bukhara, Khiva, Kokand, Samarkand, Karshi, Shakhrisabz and Tashkent. Leading technology products processing copper surface is deep engraving (kandakori) and less deep, clean engraving (chizma).

Besides engraving, Uzbek masters used trench chasing (shabaka), a rarely used technique of inlay stones or wire. The toolbox used by chasers and coppersmiths in all centers was about the same. Chasers use cutters with different configuration tips (kalam), compass (pargor), hammer (bolga), tools for grinding (randa) and others.

Ophtoba – the pitcher. M.Madaliyev. 90s of XXth century. Tashkent

Manufacture produced in nineteenth to early twentieth centuries was diverse in form and function. Particularly popular among them were richly decorated elegant jugs for water and tea, vessels for water, milk, trays, buckets, writing sets (pencil boxes and inkwells and light holders, as well as ritual objects) bowls for alms and incense, hunting drums, etc. Motifs of patterns of embossed products are fairly typical and the same ornaments can be found in other types of Uzbek arts and crafts. Popular ornament  islimi (climbing floral pattern) has a lot of variations. Geometric ornament girih was mainly used as a complementary motif. The zoomorphic images were schematic and rarely seen.

By the early 1970s, the number of masters and engraving centers dramatically reduced. Production of engraved items was ceased in many centers of Uzbekistan. Nowadays many of engraving centers are restored and the apprenticeship system started to develop. Craftspersons making traditional embossed articles now work in Tashkent, Karshi, Kokand, Fergana, Bukhara and Khiva cities. The most known of them are M.Madalieva from Tashkent, F.Abidov from Kokand, Z.Gafurov from Ferghana, U.Aliev and M.Sadykov from Bukhara and S.Masharipov from Khiva. A new development was the participation of engraving artists in the design of interiors of places of worship, including mosques, madrasas, as well as traditional style cafes and tea facilities.

The changes also occurred in the ornamental style. Chasers are trying to upgrade the aesthetics of products design including new patterns décor. They actively implement some techniques of inlaying semi-precious stones into the patterns.