KUNDAL – is one of kinds of ornamental art. Kondal or in other words «relief painting» is one of the traditional fine arts widespread in Central Asia, which is still alive and keeps on successfully developing just in Tajikistan. Researchers traced this rare type of art back to the XV century A.D. when in some monuments of the ancient center of Tajik culture Samarqand (architectural complexes Shahi Zinda,Gouri Amir,Ak-Sara) had arisen a new type of interior decoration. At that time the surfaces of pendentive domes and stalactites inside buildings were decorated with ornamental painting rich in gold bearing a strong resemblance of brocade. The beauty of koundal lay in an intricate interlacing of parallel images, vegetative and geometrical combinations, matching of various colors, which one had to be able to read and interpret. .
To make a koundal piece of art, a wooden board needs to be prior plastered with ganch (alabaster) and then a clay pattern can be applied, but nowadays painters tend to use stronger materials, such as cement. According to medieval canon, a thin layer of gild had to be applied over the relief of the pattern prior to painting and the background had to be filled in dark blue, whereas most of the painters of today have receded from that practice. After that the panel will be painted in different colors of organic nature. Today the painters prefer to use oil paints. Gold (sometimes replaced with bronze) played a particular sacral and sacred role in making koundal, because at all times it symbolized divine light and glory. Metal shine of its little elements and contours made the chosen pattern look chiseled and the smallest details of the ornament didn’t seem lost in a monumental composition.
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