By Vladimir Lukonin and Anatoli Ivanov

The stern prohibition at the illustration of the human shape has channeled creative construction into structure and architectural ornament. This booklet is a paranormal journey via vital Asia - Khirgizia, Tadjikistan, Turkmenia, and Uzbekistan - a cradle of old civilisations and a repository of the Oriental arts encouraged by means of Buddhism and Islam. There are outstanding, full-colour pictures of the deserted towns of Mervand Urgench, Khiva, the capital of the Kharezm, with its mausoleum of Sheikh Seid Allahuddin, and the Golden highway to Samarkand , the Blue urban, a middle of civilisation for 2,500 years.

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Plaster. Fine Arts Institute, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. 62 mythology, Bactrian sculptors were less restricted by the canons and were freer in their creations.

From the time Central Asia was drawn into the Muslim orbit, epigraphic ornament acquired an entirely new character. The inscriptions in Arabic – of religious moral inspiration – had a definite goal. Their aesthetic effect contributed to the expansion of the Islamic dogma. But in many cases (as in the Arab-Ata Mausoleum), these inscriptions also contain historical information (dates, names, sometimes the names of the builders). The calligraphers must have written the texts with great exactitude and care for the beauty of the Arabic writing, proportions, harmony, and rhythm.

From the time Central Asia was drawn into the Muslim orbit, epigraphic ornament acquired an entirely new character. The inscriptions in Arabic – of religious moral inspiration – had a definite goal. Their aesthetic effect contributed to the expansion of the Islamic dogma. But in many cases (as in the Arab-Ata Mausoleum), these inscriptions also contain historical information (dates, names, sometimes the names of the builders). The calligraphers must have written the texts with great exactitude and care for the beauty of the Arabic writing, proportions, harmony, and rhythm.

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