The Art History Research Institute (AHRI) is the main and only academic research institution in the system of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan. It is a unique scientific centre that brings together experts in art history and architecture, fine and decorative-applied art, music, theatre and cinema. The Institute has ten sections representing all areas of art studies, as well as a unique archaeological collection, record library, photo laboratory, an archive and an academic library.
From the beginning of its establishment, the Institute employed scholars who eventually became known not only in Uzbekistan, but also in many countries of the world. They had been able to capture, comprehensively study and thus preserve the national art and cultural heritage of the country. Their work is now being referred to by art historians, art critics, collectors, museum workers, artists and masters of applied art. They are G. A. Pugachenkova, L. I. Rempel, I. R. Rajabov, R. H. Taktash, D. A. Fakhretrdinova, F. M. Karomatov, M. R. Rakhmanov, M. H. Kadyrov, T. S. Vyzgo, H. N. Abdulkasymova, J. T. Teshabaev, M. T. MirzaMukhamedova, E. V. Trveladze and many others.
Nowadays the Institute is the largest centre that trains art historians in the region. It offers a graduate course; there is a special council for defending dissertations for the degree of candidate, and in 1992 a doctoral council was instituted, and since 1993 it has become possible to pursue doctoral degree. Throughout all this time, and particularly during the last ten years, dissertations for doctoral and candidate degrees have been defended by applicants not only from Uzbekistan, but also from CIS and non-CIS countries.
The years of independence opened new opportunities for Uzbekistan’s scientist for an in-depth study of the country’s artistic culture, including previously “undesirable” and thus inadequately researched problems related to the history of religions and their influence on the development of artistic processes. For instance, specific attention is given to selected aspects of architecture and music of Islamic period. There emerged an opportunity to study cult architecture, which previously was regarded as a final product of architects’ work, without studying genesis, evolution and close interconnections of some building types, associated, in one way or another, with Buddhism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and, primarily, with Islam. For instance, a new impetus is given to the studies of honako architecture – Sufic abodes, the development of which was closely linked to the history and the transformations of the Sufi teaching itself – Ilmi at-Tasavvuf, as well as makoms, in terms of discovering their semantics in relation to the ritual Sufi practices. portraits and copies of oil paintings