Rishtan is a treasury of the Fergana Valley, located 50 km away from Fergana and Kokand. It used to be a small, remoted settlement called Kuibyshevo. Today it’s an administrative center of Rishtan district with population of 50,000 people.
One of the most ancient cities of the Fergana Valley is known as “The main pottery” of Uzbekistan. Although, there’re a lot of highly mastered potteries in Bukara, Samarkand, Khorezm, and Andijan, Rishtan is and undoubtable leader in production of ceramics. The art of ceramics was born many centuries ago. Back then, Risjtan was already considered as a unique center of production of amazing glazed ceramics on the Great Silk Road. Archeological excavations in Rishtam revealed kilns made in 2 century BC.
Throughout centuries traditions of art of ceramics and center producing ceramics were lost. The phenomenon of Rishtan is that it’s the only center of ceramics production that has been stable in its development and preserved original style. Distinguishing features of Rishtan ceramics are deep blue, turquoise colors and plant pattern. The basis of decoration are white ornaments on blue or turquoise backdrop. The backdrop symbolizes the sky and water.
This unique blue glaze is called “ishkor”, it’s made of mineral colorings and ashes of plants. The recipe of ishkor, as well as, techniques are secrets that are being passed from generation to generation. Continuous development of pottery in Rishtan happened because of abundance of raw materials in the area.
Almos all components for production of glazed ceramics from clay to colorings can be found near Rishtan. Local masters believe that clay in Rishtan is so good that it doesn’t need conditioning and processing before usage. Today there’re 100 craftsmen-ceramists in Rishtan, but there used to be times when every man in the city was a highly skilled ceramist.