At the development basis of modern Uzbek literature is rich folklore – speakings or oral folk arts. The people wrote and handed down heroic epics, whose characters were heroes, presented in the images of evil forces, who were fighting against their oppressors and enslavers. This is the way how epics of Uzbek folklore, such as “Koroghlu” and “Alpamysh” were created.
Alpamysh, which tells the story of courage and bravery of the Uzbek warriors, survived centuries and became a real monument of oriental literature.
Another genius of people’s art is a cycle of tales and legends about Effendi – Hodja Nasreddin, a deft, witty dodger, who gives lesson to the greedy rich and the powers that be with his mischievous pranks.
The XI century featured a host of works, based on religious norms of Islamic morality. They are the insightful poem “Kugadau Bilig” (“Knowledge of Grace” or “The Science of Happiness”) (1069) by Yusuf Khas Khadjib Balasaguni (Yusuf Balasagun), the poem “Hibat al-Haqa’iq” (“The Gift of the Truth”) by Akhmad Yugnaki, and, of course, “Dictionary of Turkic Dialects” (1072-74), compiled by Makhmud Kashgari.
The golden age of Uzbek literature fell on the historical epoch of Amir Timur and his dynasty. Its popularity is attributed to the fact that the works become more secular and free from excessive religiosity. It is that period, when the great oriental poet, philosopher and politician Alisher Navoi, who is considered to be a classic of Uzbek literature and founder of the Uzbek language, was flourishing. His immortal works –“Chordevon” and “Khamsa” are included in the thesaurus of world literature and translated into hundreds of the world’s languages.
The last of the Timurid dynasty, the founder of the Great Mogul state in India, Zahiriddin Mukhammad Babur was not only a talented ruler and commander, but also notable as an outstanding poet of the time. His epic poem “Baburnama” describes the history of the peoples of Central Asia, Afghanistan and India, became a valuable historical and literary monument of the time.
Uzbek literature of the XVIII-XIX centuries is lyric and mainly devoted to love. During this period were flourishing such poets as Nadira Uvaisi, Mashrab, Khorezmi and so on.
At the end of the XIX and beginning of the XX centuries began a new modern period of Uzbek literature; which was presented by outstanding persons such as poet Mukimi and writer, poet and satirist Furqat. The Soviet era gave us such talents as poet and playwright Hamza Hakimzade Niazi, poet and writer Sadriddin Ayni, the first Uzbek novelist Abdullah Kadiri, writer and philosopher Fitrat. Their literary traditions were continued by Oybek, Gafur Gulam, Abdulla Kahhar Khamid Alimjhan, Uygun and others.
Traditional Uzbek music has ancient sources. Folklore Uzbek music which came from the people is divided into many genres.
Among them are lullabies and children’s songs as well as ritual, work, daily life songs, songs-dialogues, dancing and lyric fados.
Classical Uzbek music is makom – a special musical genre, which is characterized by drawling touching performance. Many lines of the poets of the East (Jami, Navoi, Fuzuly, Hafiz, Uvaisi, Nadira, Mukimi Ogahi, etc.) were put to this music. The diversity of folk instruments also confirms the wealth of Uzbek musical tradition: bowed — gidjak, kobuz, setor and sato; fretted — dombra, dutar tanbur, ud and rubab; stringed hammered string — chang; wind-reed — sibizik, bulaman, surnay and koshnay; wind flute — nai and gadjir; brass — karnay; drums — doira, nagora,, chindaul, safail, koshuk etc.
National Uzbek dance is very expressive. It presents all the beauty of nation. The main difference of Uzbek dance from dances of other Eastern nations is the accent on complicated and expressive hand gestures and animated facial expressions. Uzbek dance includes two categories: classic traditional dance and folklore dance.
Classic traditional Uzbek dance is the art, studied in choreographic schools and demonstrated on a stage. There are three schools of Uzbek dance: Ferghana, Bukhara and Khorezm. Ferghana dances are differed with softness, smoothness and expressiveness of gestures, light sliding step, original motions. Bukhara dance is distinguished with sharpness of gestures, leaned back shoulders and very beautiful goldwork costumes. Khorezm style differs with original and distinctive motions.
Folk Uzbek dance includes traditions of almost any region and displays wonderful variety. People dance them on weddings and family holidays, rural and urban events. These dances are handed over from generation to generation and preserve ancient dance traditions as well as today and past lifestyles.
Uzbekistan Fine Art
Oriental craftsmen always were renowned for own peculiar fine talent, which is shown in full in decoration and adornments of magnificent palaces, mausoleums and other religious buildings. As a rule, general fine art works include ornament, patterns and calligraphy. Islamic traditions forbid to image people and animals, therefore craftsmen started developing more abstract directions, bringing them to perfection. Later a new direction appeared in Uzbekistan fine art. It was the miniature, small bright colorful pictures lacquered, which decorated palaces and rich houses.
Uzbekistan fine art was in unbelievable flourishing during the general cultural boom in 14-15th centuries, the epoch of Timurid Dynasty. Ancient Samarkand mausoleums preserved details of wonderful landscape paintings. Some palaces of Amir Temur were decorated with scenic pictures of Tamerlane, his wives, sons and associates and scenes of rich feasts. The great medieval artist was the inimitable master of oriental miniature Kamoliddin Behzod.
The next rise of Uzbekistan fine art dates back to the 19th century. The miniature art reaches its highest flourishing. It is glorified by Akhmad Donish (1827-1897), Abdulkhalik-Makhmum and others.
Uzbekistan fine art of 20th century developed under the influence Russian painters Itinerants. Their outstanding works furthered the development of oriental school of portraits and landscapes, development of realism genre in painting art.