Sultan Palace Merv

Karakalpakstan State Museum of Arts or Savitsky Museum in Nukus

The museum houses one of the finest collections of early 20th century Russian art, and the museum of Applied Arts that has extensive collections relating to the culture and lifestyle of the peoples of the lower Amu-Darya region and a selectionof archeological finds from the numerous sites in the region. The collection owes its existence to the courage and enthusiasm of Igor Vitalevich Savitsky (1915-1984).

For Savitsky, Karakalpakstan was a place of peace and beauty. From 1956 to 1966 he was an employee of the Karakalpakstan branch of the Academy of Sciences and devoted his time to assembling a collection of Karakalpak applied arts. Especially the traditional textiles and the forms of art associated with the nomadic way of life. Karakalpak embroidered dresses are particular beautiful. The decoration is used to indicate age and status but within the strict canons laid down by this, each dress is an individual work of art. Accompanied with a set of silver jewelry including braclets, rings, neclaces, pendants and headdresses.

With opening of a Museum of Fine Arts in Karakalpakstan, a local school of art began to develop. The Museum encouraged artists and creative work flourished. Many artists and sculptors, Z.Kuttymuratov, D. Turenijazov, B.Serekeev, A.Utegenov, E.Zholdasov and others, were among Savitsky's pupils. The wide desert horizons encouraged landscape artists, while the colour of domestic life at home, in the fields and the bazaar was also the focus of many works. Wood carving is another local Karakalpak tradition and the museum houses a number of beautiful examples. The natural shape of tree informs the sculptures so that images seem to grow out of the living wood.

Today, for early 20th century Russian art, the museum collection is recognized as second in importance only to that in Saint Petersburg. Items from the collections are sought by art curators across the world for exhibitions.