If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

"Golden Thread of History" in national products of Aizhan Abdubait

"Golden Thread of History" in national products of Aizhan Abdubait - e-history.kz
An exhibition of the artist and jeweler Aizhan Abdubait "Gold Thread of History" devoted to the 550th anniversary of the Kazakh Khanate took place in the Museum of First President in Astana.

Aizhan Abdubait recovers forgotten forms and genres of Kazakh national arts and crafts. She recreates the ancient traditions of sewing with golden threads. After many years of hard work she managed to recover technique of well-known gold embroidery of the Kazakh masters — "zerleu". Products with the gilded threads were made only for representatives of the nobility: khans, bii and sultans.

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                                                 Men’s caftan (velvet, gold sewing “zer”)

Kaliolla Akhmetzhan, famous in Kazakhstan artist, historian and ethnographer, who were at opening of the exhibition, highly appreciated works of Aizhan Abdubait: "Aizhan’s work is very good. It is necessary to tell that art of gold embroidery started to disappear in the 19th century. If tambour beading, one of the types of national embroidery, survived till 20th century, then gold embroidery began to be forgotten very quickly. It is all due to lack of customers for this art. Such clothes were worn only by khans, sultans and beddings for them were embroidered with gold. After liquidation of khan system and equation of sultans with ordinary Kazakhs, such products lost their costumers".



Gold embroidery according to "zerleu" technique 


Kaliolla Akhmetzhan believes that thanks to such artist-enthusiast as Aizhan Abdubait, our national art returns its former status. "Aizhan set a goal long time ago to revive the Kazakh gold embroidery. Restoration of such forgotten art requires not only hard work and talent, but also research skills and works because the school of zerger-jeweler is lost and it is necessary to recover the techniques indepenly".                               

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                                                       Dress and under-tunic 


Wedding dress and headdress of the bride 


Ablaykhan's caftan on the left


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                                                                                            Waistcoat of Fatima khansha

Visitors of the exhibition appreciated a very good style of the artist. "There is no modern rough style which we already started to perceive as national. We can see them here today. The embroidery looks harmonic in combination with materials.Talent, taste, professionalism define Aizhan’s works. She managed to revive forgotten art, and her works made exactly as in the museums. I looked all exhibits and level of mastery is very high. It would be very good if now there were people who started using products with golden embroidery. Certainly, such expensive things not everyone can afford. However, buying them people would give support to both our art and artists" — says Kaliollah Akhmetzhan.


Such pattern can be seen on khan’s dressing gowns. Nowadays only 10 of them remain and all of them are stored in the museums of Russia. "On the back there is symbol of cosmogonic characteristic. We can see the image of a world tree which often seen on khan’s gowns. It is difficult to recognize a world tree as the image artificially processed. Apparently, this ornament had ritual value. Now we would not be able to know the meaning. But, the fact that this pattern has a cosmic meaning is certain" — commenting from the history and ethnography point of view on these products the expert Kaliollah Akhmetzhan.

Many people, who saw such luxury, taste and wealth had a questions: from where such technique of gold sewing came to the Kazakh steppe? Now it is very difficult to answer to this question, but ethnographers and historians suppose that all nations had a gold sewing and there are confirmations that masters learnt from each other. "We can find both European and Russian elements on these products. Sometimes on national carpets of the 20th century it is possible to see the embroidered rose, which is certainly not appropriate to Kazakh style. There was an interference of art of the different people. The technique "zerleu" origin from the East, it is due to the fact that clothes and utensils of nobility differed in splendor. This technique reached Europe and West from East. Russian and Bukhara technique could also have an impact on the Kazakh masters".


Panel of art. Ayat (revelations) from Al-Bakara surah of Holy Quran 


"Tribal signs"


Little bags, pillows and kidswear

Reconstruction of a gravestone cover of Khoja Akhmet Yassawi — is another pride of the master Ayzhan Abdubait. She managed to carry out reconstruction of a national shrine. Months spent on hard work revived surprising beauty of cloth and returned on the place to the mausoleum. By the way, at opening of an exhibition the director of the Museum of the First President of Kazakhstan Alma Sagyngali handed to Aizhan Abdubait the letter of thanks from the UNESCO cluster bureau across Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, where was expressed gratitude for the her work on restoration and reconstruction of Akhmet Yassawi’s cover of gravestone, a monument of the World Cultural Heritage of UNESCO".


Fragment of reconstruction of Akhmet Yassawi’s gravestone cover 


Aizhan Abdubait is the only one in Kazakhstan artist jewelers working in zerleu technique. She continues tradition of gold embroidery sewing, which came to us from ancient times. Gold embroidery technique — zerleu is truly cultural heritage of the Kazakh people. And every visitor of the exhibition "Golden Thread of History" is convinced of it.