A path to Central Asia > Ceaih Project > Boris Golender Archive

Boris Golender Archive

A series of illustrated postcards, part of the private archives of Boris Golender, the Uzbek historian, shows folk musical practice in late 19th and early 20th century. Postcards document the last period of Russian Empire and domination over the lands called Turkestan, when a first generation of Russian photographers used to immortalize folk characteristic scenes. There are portraits of folk groups playing different instruments, from karnà and surnà to dutar, gidjàk and doirà. They celebrate community feasts, such as birthday, circumcision, wedding, burial ceremony. They testify also the different connotation of main Uzbekistan's areas, some of them placed along the Silk Road, such as Ferghana, Samarkand and Bukhara, some others born as defence fortresses, such as Khiva and Khorezm. People and tribes speaking different languages and carrying their own traditions crossed each other and settled in the lands of Central Asia. This area has therefore been defined as a "melting pot", a crossroad of cultures, where the nomadic cultures of Mongolian, Iranian and Turkish tribes met the survivals of ancient civilizations and crossed Chinese, Arabian and Jewish merchants. Uzbek social, ethnic and cultural and musical landscape looks deeply representative of Central Asian dynamisms and offers an open window on Central Asia.