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Papier-mache and Lacquer Boxes by Uzbek Artisans

14 Nov 2021

The art of making papier-mache; and painting objects made of it with lacquer, thrived in Samarkand at the turn of the XV century. Witness of this are genuine medallions made of papier-mache which, by some miracle, remained untouched among the interiors of the Gur-Emir Tomb and Bibi-Khanym Mosque. Of particular interest is the fully stored golden-blue dome of the interior of the main section of the Gur-Emir Tomb, which includes 998 elements made of papier-mache.

laquered pencil box
laquered pencil box

112 of these genuine elements served material for tedious restoration work. It is from Samarkand this art is assumed to have come to India in the XV century, where it reached a high level of mastery and thrives to this day.

Boxes for jewelry
Boxes for jewelry

Objects made of papier-mache: pencil-boxes, book-covers, chessmen, caskets, boxes and vases were overlaid with miniature vegetal designs. Graceful epographs were often inserted in the patterns painted on pencil-boxes. The painting was done with thin brush-on ground made up of golden or bronze powder and gold and bronze leaf on apricot and cherry gum. The recipes for making lacquers and paints for papier-mache were complex and diverse.

Chess made of papier-mache
Chess made of papier-mache

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