Art of Georgia
Ancient traditions and modern Art of Georgia. The relatively small territory of Georgia is surrounded by subtropics and the snow-capped mountains of the Caucasus. Southern Georgia-mountain-steppe, middle – Trialeti, Meskheti. Adzharia – abundantly moistened land with coniferous vegetation, eastern – forest-steppe, western – plains, western foothills are covered with forests. A variety of natural conditions have had a significant impact on the development of folk arts and crafts.
Historically, there are a lot of regions, and therefore national crafts have significant regional differences.
Since ancient times cattle breeders lived in mountainous areas, in the valleys the inhabitants were engaged in land tenure. Georgians are an ancient people, living in this territory for the first time. The main centers of development of art crafts are Svaneti, Racha, Imereti, Pshavi, Khevsureti, Tusheti, Kakheti, Meskheti, Abkhazia. Megrelia and Adjara. Central Georgia is often referred to in scientific literature as Kartli.
The unification of Georgian lands was carried out in 1122 under David the Builder. After the expulsion of the Arabs, a powerful feudal state was formed on the territory of Georgia. Special development of the state and culture reached during the Middle Ages under the reign of Queen Tamar, in the 12th-13th centuries. During this period, Georgia exerted political influence on Byzantium, Iran, Mesopotamia. Significant development was given to cities, construction of large buildings is under way, secular art appears, the content of which is different in humanism and realistic tendencies.
During this period the Georgian school of carving on stone is formed, connected primarily with monuments
Kartli and Meskheti. Georgian carved altar stone barriers in the temples are of world importance. The rich carving of magnificent decor, high craftsmanship and subtlety of the execution of floral ornamentation, the volume carving of the reliefs of the Georgian temples are unrivaled.
Woodcarving. The carving on the wood of Georgian dwellings and utensils has a somewhat different folk origins, and glistening from the temple and palace carvings, but in both cases there was an undoubted commonality. As early as the 11th century, the rich Georgian private house was a two- and sometimes three-tier structure. The ground floor was made of stone, the upper floor – wooden, surrounded by a balcony on two or three sides, overlooking the street. Balconies had openwork lancet arches, decorated with carvings, and later colored glass. The columns, rails, arches and architrave were carved. The main type of the Georgian house, richly decorated by folk artists, was the so-called “Darbazi”, which has survived to our days, mainly in Kartli and Meskheti. The main room of the house is a wooden ceiling with a central upper light window serving to exit the smoke from the hearth. The rows of the ceiling beams are laid out with the opening, gradually closing the ceiling. The pillars of the ceilings and the two main beams on the front side were covered with rich carvings. In contrast to this type of house in western Georgia, there was another one – the “ode-sahli”: its first, wooden floor was raised high above the ground. The pillars supporting the balcony and balustrade, balustrades and columns of the balcony, architrave and arch were covered with elaborate carvings. Such a house had a fireplace – “Bukhari”, which was marvelously decorated with stone carvings. In the house the situation was modest: niches of wooden walls with utensils, wooden benches with backs, like sofas, cradles, low table, utensils made of metal, clay, wood, horns, pumpkins, as well as carpets, hurjins and other carpets.
A rich carving covered the pillars of the dwelling – “dedabozi”. Ancient character carving, associated with the symbols – the keepers of the hearth, – has come down to us from very ancient times. On the pillars there are symbols of earth, water and sun – fire. The carving was decorated with household utensils, furniture, caskets and wooden trays, tobacco cutters, spindle supports, chests and mortars. Usually the carving almost completely covered the surface of the product. The special skill of woodcarving was famous for the climbing. In the Lazi ornament, which was studied by the famous specialist G. Chitaya, there were often ancient motifs, in particular the tree of life. You can draw a parallel between the wooden carving of the tree of life with that depicted with branches, a bell (thunder) and a spear (lightning) on the Khevsurian sacred banners – “drosh.” The motif of this ancient and existed centuries in the embroidery, in carvings on wood and stone.
The complexity of carving and its special beauty is struck wooden chests Svaneti. There are cosmogonic symbols in the thread. The carved boxes of Pshav-Khevsureti are exceptionally beautiful. Svan and Khevsur ornaments on wooden products consist mainly of triple incised triangles.
The Svan bench was a complex structure with a carved double-tiered backrest and side armrests. The front lower blind board was richly decorated with carvings. The back of the senior chair in the family “sakurtshil” from Mtiulet-Gudamakari was covered with an interesting carving with the oldest symbols of the guardians of the family and the home. At the climbers the main room of the dwelling was completely covered with precious carvings. The main motive of this thread was also the tree of life.
Georgian carving is an amazing kind of folk art. It is diverse on motives of geometric, zoomorphic and vegetative character, is full of ancient symbols and is distinguished by high skill. Sometimes this thread can be complex, multidimensional, in several planes. In this thread and deep folk traditions, and a connection with the art of carving on stone.
Just like in Armenia, in the lands of Georgia, in the art of its masters Christian and pagan motifs were closely intertwined, creating a complex artistic and imaginative structure of works. In the customs of the people in Khevsureti during the wedding was to put in bread carved wooden cross with three apples on the ends. The cross, flourished by the trefoil, which has a fruit on its end, was a common motif in the carving.
Ceramics. Pottery in Georgia was used everywhere, but produced it only in some centers.
The village of Ninotsminda in Kakheti was famous for making “Kvevri” – vessels for wine. Ninotsminda was the only center for the production of irrigation ceramics. Here, on a white shard, but a light yellow background, dark blue glaze decorations – geometric ornaments – were displayed. The famous center of ceramic production was Kartli. Here, in Tbilisi and Gori, glazed dishes were made, in Mtskheta and Tskhavati-engobed, non-poured. Tskhavati is the most famous eastern Georgian pottery center. Clay vessels in this area were painted with the famous red engobed “pernaki”. In Tskhavati, everyone was engaged in pottery. For sale to Tbilisi, special jugs of large size made of porous clay were made here to purify the city’s water from impurities; these vessels were well cleaned and long cold. In Tskhavati, Vanati, Kemsreti dishes were made mostly by women. Traditional for these places was the national, before the ritual vessel – “marani” with a lot of small sosudikov in a single decorative composition. Marani can be decorated with stucco figures of animals. The matzoni vessels had two handles for carrying. The ceramics of the village of Shrosh of the Zestafon district in Imereti with a glaze of black color, the secrets of which were carefully guarded, is unique. Now pottery has flourished here. They make traditional pottery of beautiful simple plastic forms. The terracotta surfaces of the vessels are slightly touched by engobe painting.
Many vessels are inherent in the ancient beauty of forms, the rigor of a simple silhouette, the velvety surface of engobe ceramics with a light pattern line, smoothly waving the vessel over the shoulders. And today, they make dishes of a reddish surface with a wavy line of brown engobe. In Svaneti and Khevsureti there was no pottery in everyday life, they mostly used wooden and metal utensils.
Processing of metals and jewelry. According to the legends of Georgians, the world was created with the help of a hammer, which forged a metal dome of the sky with the stars. The mastery of the jeweler and blacksmith in Georgia enjoyed special honor.
Professional goldsmithing and jewelry business in Georgia already in ancient times reached unprecedented heights. From the Bronze Age on the territory of Georgia came to us works from the treasure in Trialeti, which amaze with the skill of goldsmithing. Overhead filigree and large stone cabochons form a volute-like, spiral curl of a monumental pattern on the surface of the bowl. On another cup of silver, the workshops of depictions of deer, people with animal heads, the altar, the tree of life are surprised. A gold plate of the same treasure represents a wonderful example of Parthian art – in the center of the rosette is the sun, surrounded by pearls. In a circle around the sun, beautifully minted sun birds walk. The disc-sky is surrounded on the edge by antique palmettes. The disk is the universe, in it the sun, the sky with birds and palmettes are the trees of the earth. This most interesting monument speaks of Georgia’s extensive ties with other countries of the East
In the second half of the 13th century, in the reign of Queen Tamar, the art school of metal working in Tao-Klarjeti rises. The highest art achieved plastic from metal and cloisonne enamel. Silver and gold products were distinguished by high relief. images on biblical themes, unusual chneyutoy and clarity of compositions, not overloaded with decor. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Opis school was the central art school of goldsmithing. The main figures of this art school were the great masters Beka and Beshken from Opiza
An outstanding artist Beka Opizari created at the court of Queen Tamar at the time of the brilliant Shota Rustaveli. Of course, the highest achievements in the artistic processing of metals in this period belong to the professional art. But this level of mastery had a significant influence on the work of folk artists, in whose art the achievements of the era are felt. One of these masters was Ivanandiacon. in whose works – the folk interpretation of the cross, flourished trefoil, as a tree of life, reminiscent of folk carvings on wood and stone. A lot was done in medieval Georgian products made of simple and precious metals with chasing, overhead scandium and cabochon stones. They have many archaic features and peculiarities of the style of local schools, for example Tibetan, which complement the art of the central art schools-Tbilisi, Opiz and Tao-Klardjets.
Cloisonne enamels belong to an independent Georgian school, which has significant differences in both style and technology of manufacturing from the leading Byzantine at that time. Gelati enamels of the 12th century have a clear color, a bit reddish skin color, depending on local raw materials, which attracted the attention of the remarkable Georgian researcher Amiranashvili.
The highest level of skill of many schools of professional jewelry art in medieval Georgia could not but affect the work of urban folk artists. Fine works by Akhaltsikha jewelers of great connoisseurs of filigree and embroidery with beads are known, which was developed at a somewhat later time. Women’s belts, which they performed, were in great demand and exported outside Georgia. The masters loved the technology of twisted filigree, specifically “sinfullry”, specific to Georgia. The masters made gaziri, belts for men’s suits, weapons, equipment for the horse, kantsi-dens from the horn. The weapon, which has survived until today, allows us to judge the great craftsmanship of folk armourers and jewelers. Preserved and metal vessels for wine – “kula” with a characteristic elongated throat over the round body. Goldsmiths worked in the mountain Svaneti and women. Made for Svan women’s bibs for the costume – “cuprasty” (“hooks with brackets”). The breastplates were made of silver and black. A lot was made of buttons, waist belts, tiaras, rings, necklaces, earrings. Jewelry techniques are distinguished by a great variety and virtuosity – granules, filigree, incision, inlay, engraving, blackening, chasing, casting. Especially high artistic merits were the skan articles of Rachi masters, the masters of masters Pshavi, Tusheti, Khevsureti and Svaneti. At the moment, the mystery of making Georgian cloisonne enamels without hot solder is solved. A lot of time was devoted to this and the brilliant chemist S. Taruashvili received a brilliant result. A master who kept in his work and passed on to his students the skill of plant ornamentation, whose traditions trace back to the art of the Georgian coinage of the XVIII century, died recently. He covered the bowls, jugs and other vessels with an excellent large plastic almost realistic pattern, with great decorative. The connoisseur of the vegetable ornament was the brilliant master of the silver work of Hyundamashvili. Mr. Jikia in his works faithfully observed the traditions of ancient national ornaments. It is necessary to work out the legacy of the Georgian goldsmithing, goldsmithing and jewelry art, for this is a well of skill. Modern Georgian coinage in the works of its best representatives confirms the high level of this kind of national art.
Embroidery and costume. Even in the XIX century, the embroidery of Georgians was the subject of exports. In artistic crafts, Kartli and Kakhetn were embroidered with colored silks and five golden glove seams and stitches, and sometimes with the inclusion of a colored bead. Ornaments were plant-like flowers, leaves, shoots. Embroideries of the XIX century are quite realistic. Embroidered chapras, women’s hats. In Guria and Adzharia, plant motifs were embroidered with gold and silver thread, as well as colored silks. A distinctive feature of the embroideries was the “bean” pattern, reminiscent of the Central Asian “bodom” or Azerbaijani “buta”.
Khevsur embroidered details of the costume, both female and male. The embroidery was small, geometric in nature. The cross, circle, rhombus were the main motifs of embroidery, the patterns resembled those that were decorated with ritual bread. Quite often white embroidered buttons were put in the embroidery.
The art of gold and silver sewing of Georgia does not impress pomposity and excessive splendor. For all the precious materials used, it is distinguished by strict taste and even excessive restraint. So, the traditional headscarf of a female suit, made by gold sewing on silk, all as though consists of small twinkling asterisks that creates impression of ease of all pattern, its airiness. Georgian gold and silver embroidery developed mainly in monasteries. This type of artistic sewing remained for a long time almost to our days.
Mastering the traditions of artistic craftsmanship of Georgian embroiderers, in 1946 the craftsmen E. Gogów and M. Tskhomelidze executed a panel made of satin embroidered with silver, gold thread and colored silks. A border with medallions in flower shoots surrounds the central field, which is an oval woven with gold and silver flowers with large leaves. The time of the 1950s favored the creation of works ordered to folk artists in expensive embroidery techniques.
The Georgian national costume has many options related to regional characteristics. The traditions of the Georgian folk costume are very old. Cutting and ornamentation of men’s Khevsurs shirts “peranga” have their history from the time of medieval chivalry.
Khevsury from home-made fabrics sewed a suit that, in both the male and female versions, was adorned with superb finest embroidery with wool and silk predominantly in shades of red through a dark cloth. The composition of the decoration of the costume looked like this: the sidewalls and the bottom are bordered by strict jagged ornaments, the larger forms of this ornament complete the pattern of the sleeve, the chest is embroidered with a small, literally jeweled seam, forming a clear alternation of rhomboid figures, filling the space between them with a multi-colored tight seam. This kind of both male and female outerwear – “chocha” has a short sleeve with cuts, side floors with folds and cuts from the waist. Sometimes the incisions are covered and now with motley decorative braid. Women under the chohah wore long dresses, High-mountainous Khevsurks wear clothes with a more strict color, almost monochrome embroidery, and the inhabitants of the foothills prefer the variegated variegated, multicolored, with the inclusion of green and often colored beads.
Kartli and Kakheti wear short shirts, long pants, embroidered on the bottom with silk, and caftan-arhaluk serves as outerwear. Sometimes a dress with a beautiful decorative belt is put on a sleeveless shirt, fur-lined, it has false long sleeves, often connected behind her back. Over the headband, a gas shawl and a blanket for the street were worn. Red shirts are worn with pshava, from under which women can see long colorful cotton pants. Over their shirts they put on papanagi – cloth clothes.
The artistic expressiveness of the women’s national costume was achieved mainly through the use of embroidery, and in the suit of wealthy layers of the population-gold and silver embroidery, which is modest, it is richly and solemnly present in the suit. The dress was decorated with a metal breastplate – chapresses. Women-swans wear beautifully crafted knitted wool stockings – “tatebi”, they contain a wide variety of geometric patterns – rhombuses and stripes, zigzags and asterisks, sometimes bold asymmetric compositions.
Carpet weaving and felting. Already in the XI century, written sources tell of the high skill of Georgian weavers who made wonderful curtains – “Parda”, carpets – “pardags” and pile carpets – “Orkhova”. At present, there is a complete disappearance of the artistic craft of making lint-free palaces, which formerly had high artistic merit, especially in Kakheti and Kartln. The most interesting carpet blankets, lined with mutton fur, also disappeared, the “Gudanuri”, which had ancient traditions and were produced mainly in Khevsureti. But up to this time we are weaving excellent Khurjins, mafrashes with striped and jagged patterns, carpet cushions-rollers – “mutaki”, bags for preserving salt
The artistic craft of making artifacts with fine motifs in Tusheti and Kakheti is unique. These felts have a dark background and a pattern of mostly reddish and blue, the boundaries of which are indistinct, somewhat blurred. In our time, the artistic craft of the production of Alvan kpshm small size – wall mats made of natural color of wool, selected with a large gradation of gray, rusty, brown, black, white shades, was revived.
The revived art of hand-printed hand-made fabrics, in particular, the famous blue tablecloths of cotton fabric “lurji supra”, is gaining strength.
Unfortunately, the art of manual fabrication has been completely lost, of which, as far back as the 5th century BC, e. Herodotus wrote that the Colchian fabrics in the world market successfully compete with the Egyptian ones. Marco Polo considered Tbilisi the largest center for the manufacture of brocade and silk fabrics. Silk weaving was especially developed in western Georgia. It was here that the famous white taffeta was made, the costumes from which among the noble women we see on the picturesque canvases of old masters.
The Georgian art of artistic crafts, having a pronounced national character, has always developed in the course of centuries in close interaction with professional applied art of big cities, absorbing the high skill of the art schools. In our time, the fishing of metal coinage, jewelry, embroidery, the manufacture of felt and the manufacture of metal and wood products are successfully developing on the ways of solving modern problems of decorative applied art.