Monday, March 11, 2013

Uzbekistan | Bukhara | Jahongir Ashurov | Book

Wandered by the old caravanaserai fronting on  Lyab-i Haus, the main public square in Bukhara. I was looking for Jahongir Ashurov, a miniaturist from whom I had bought  Some Miniatures a few years ago (see More Miniatures by Jahongir Ashurov).
Entrance to the old caravanserai (click on photos for enlargements)
Courtyard of old caravanserai. It now hosts the workshops of various artists and craftsmen, including miniaturists, silk weavers, etc. It was very early in the morning and the courtyyard was still dusted with fresh now. Jahongir was not yet there however.
Another view of the caravanserai. I came back at noon when things had warmed up a bit and found Jahongir in his shop. 
Of note among his new works is a complete book containing a poem by Khoja Akhmet Yassavi (1093 a.d.–1166 a.d.) As you probably know, Yassavi is the earliest known Turkic poet who wrote poetry in a Turkic language, and he founded one of the first, if not the first, Sufi orders among Turkish speaking peoples. In his early life he lived in Bukhara and studied under Abu Yaqub Yusuf al-Hamadani (c.1048-1141), who was also the teacher of Ghujdawani (d.1179)

Every element of this book is made by Jahongir, including the miniatures used as illustrations, the hand-written text (which is Uzbek language written in Arabic script, the marbled end papers, and the binding. To Jahongir’s knowledge, he and his brother, who has done a similar work, are the only people in Bukhara and possibly Uzbekistan who are making books like this. Miniatures and bookmaking are not his only skills. He recently returned from a city near Moscow in Russia where he carved various stone monuments.
The book was bound by by Jahongir with silk board covers and a leather spine
Marbled endpapers handmade by Jahongir
Facing pages of illustration and text
Facing pages of illustration and text
Detail of page above
Two facing pages of text
Facing pages of illustration and text
Two facing pages of text
Facing pages of illustration and text
Facing pages of illustration and text
These are just some sample pages. The entire book is for sale for a mere $4000. I am experiencing a temporary cash flow problem or I would buy it myself. Those of you whose portfolios are bulging at the seams from the recent record-high DJIA might do well to diversity into one-of-kind books like this. You can contact Jahongir at But please, if you do buy the book, give it a good home. 
Jahongir Ashurov


xylokopos said...


What are the dimensions of the book? Are the miniature paintings originals, or are they reproduced from larger paintings/earlier editions of the Turkic poet's book?

Would someone purchasing this book or one similar to it, have to keep it in temp/humidity controlled conditions? The silk might make it, but the leather binding would have a brutal [and brutally short] life where I live...

Sara said...

Thank you for this and other information! Your blog has shown me much.

Don said...

The book is perhaps the size of a regular hard cover fiction book, perhaps a little narrower.

Many miniatures are based on set scenes from various literary works. These are reproduced by the artist using his own technique. How closely the miniatures in this book follow the examples set in earlier miniatures I do not know.

I also do not know about the durability of the book in the climate where you live. In the last few days I have looked at numerous books here in Bukhara from 150 to 200 years old and they are very well preserved. And in the winter it is quite damp here, at least compared to what I am used to Mongolia.

Feel free to contact Jahongir concerning any of your questions. I am sure he would be glad to answer them. Obviously you are under no obligation to buy anything. His email is