Uzbekistan maybe?

Bukhara talisman Bukhara talisman
Silver Talisman from Bukhara

Decided to join T whom I know through a few travellers for a 2 weeks trip to Uzbekistan, Central Asia.

Had always wanted to visit Samarkand and Bukhara (Uzebekistan) ever since I visited a curio shop in Sydney more than a decade ago. This father and daughter outfit had a shop full of antiquities collected from their exotic travels. The shop collections came from tribes of north china, africa, india, middle east to central asia, all collected from the 1980s-early 1990s.

I picked up a few rather overpriced jewellery, was told by the father that it was from Bukhara, Central Asia once it was a vibrant trading centre, his travel stories was quite amazing. Being just a poor student visiting Sydney, never imagined I could ever afford to visit these places he had been. Was quite in awe with his stories and adventures, in a way he did influence me unconsciously. Bought two slightly cheaper priced silver talisman which he had traded from Bukhara, the silver plated jewellery is suppose to be worn on the sleeves as form of protection.

If only someone told me I didn’t need tons of money to travel and explore the world when I was younger, poor unemployed student! I would have taken to the rest of the world!

Will tell you more about my plans when I visit NATAS, the local travel fair this weekend. Hope they have information on central asia.

Update : NATAS had nothing despite having a Uzbekistan booth , they had quite pathetic information, not sure why the travel agent even had a booth at the travel fair perhaps only to entice and frustrate this wannabe traveller? Doing all my research on Uzbekistan, looks like I’m heading there in Oct-Nov 2008 if nothing comes up. Yay!

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3 responses to “Uzbekistan maybe?

  1. Wow, that’s a really clever way of tihninkg about it!

  2. Thought I’d respond to this as I am the daughter mentioned above in the apparently overpriced antiquities store in Sydney – Kashgar by name.

    The pieces in question are palindromic “magic squares” – Islamic amulets inscribed with a square grid containing Arabic numbers or more rarely, letters. When reading the numbers horizontally in any row, vertically in any column or diagonally from corner to corner, the sum of the numbers within the squares adds up to the same odd or even number, or in the case of letters, the same word. The sum, word or name will have a deeply religious or mystic significance or association.

    The first piece pictured above is solid silver, not plate, and while the second may be plated, it’s more likely to be solid but a poor casting. They both probably date to the late 1800’s. Given it’s curved shape, the second one was very likely worn bound to the upper arm while the first was worn about the neck.

    Palindromes were very highly valued by the cultures that wore them and thus come onto the market infrequently. As a result, they tend to be expensive for us to buy. I managed to find one 2 years ago in northern India; this year I was shown 4 by a trader but couldn’t afford them. Because of their rarity and significance to collectors, they tend to appreciate in value with time.

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