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Culture and art of ancient Uzbekistan

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OVERVIEW
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The most ancient works of art found in Uzbekistan date back to the Mesolithic period, when a primeval painter drew a hunting scene in ruddle on the rocks of Zarautsai. He pictured animals and hunters in triangle-shaped cloaks schematically, in traditions of primitive realism. Apart from stone implements, the Late Stone Age is richly represented by everyday objects including hand-made pottery ornamented by nail imprints already at that early stage of culture.

The Bronze Age, embracing the 2nd and beginning of the 1st millennium BC, was marked in southern regions of the present-day Uzbekistan by the formation of a developed building technique, emergent methods of mass and monumental architecture, and progressing bronze-smelting and pottery-making.

A considerable number of artifacts belonging to farming tribes of the Bronze Age were unearthed and studied in the South of Uzbekistan. The greatest amount of research data has been obtained on the settlements of the 17th - 10th centuries BC: Sapallitepa and Djarkutan. Their archeological complexes provided enough material for studying the establishment and development of a proto-city civilization of an ancient Oriental type, which had ethno cultural contacts with tribes both in farming South and the livestock-breeding North.

At the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 1st millennium BC Central Asia, including what is now Uzbekistan, was the site of major historical events. One the one hand, it was marked by an intensive progress made by steppe land tribes in livestock-breeding, and on the other - by the formation of seats of irrigated farming culture in small oases. At the time, there are formed and developed a number of historical and cultural regions, such as Bactria, Sogdiana, and Khorezm, followed by the formation of Bactrian, Sogdian and Khorezmian ethnos.

The first three centuries of the 1st millennium BC were marked by the appearance of iron implements and weapons (The Early Iron Age) and Sogdiana (that was how Greeks called Bacrtia and Sogda). When Macedonians reached Trans-Oxiana, i.e. regions located to the north of the Oxus river, now called the Amudarya, they confined their activities to building outposts and placing garrisons there. Hellenistic culture began to spread in this part of the world only after Alexander the Great had died and the Seleucids, who succeeded him, had been separated. By the middle of the 3rd century BC, local rulers, who emphasized their dissent from the Phil Hellenes, established themselves in Central Asia: Greco-Bactrian in Bactria and Arshakid - on the territory of the present-day South Turkmenistan. The involvement of Central Asian southern regions in broad international contacts introduced them to the summits of the Hellenic culture, shedding some of its light onto the neighboring northern regions - Sogdiana, Shash, Fergana and Khorezm.

Central Asian Antiquity (4th century BC - 4th century AD) is represented now by an exclusively rich variety of the works of art. Archeological excavations on the territory of contemporary Uzbekistan have discovered a number of big cities of that time: Dalverzin, Termez and Djandavlyattepa in Bactria, Afrasiab and Erkurgan in Sogdiana, Djanbaskala, Ayazkala and Toprakkala in Khorezm, as well as scores of smaller fortified settlements and hundreds of villages.

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