Artist: Miu Mau
Born in 1972 in Duschanbe
1987-1990 Student of Graphic Design in Duschanbe
1991-1994 Student of Advertising Graphic Design in Zurich
1995-1997 Works as graphic designer and web designer
1998-2002 Art Director at Tagesspiegel-Online, I-D Media, Art Lebedev Studio
The Uzbek bear is a woman called Banu, which means "respectable woman" or "Grand Lady". She is a work of art and a lucky charm at the same time, because it's traditional in Uzbekistan that all the jewellery and works of art in a house also function as protective charms. Various symbols show what the present will "earn" the owners. For big occasions like weddings embroidered and painted goods are produced which are supposed to represent all the good things at once.
Banu is like that - she is decorated with ornaments from traditional Uzbek embroidery where each element has a meaning: on her chest you can see stylised pepper pods filled with seeds that stand for fertility and good harvests. They are framed with a pattern of "sheep horns" which represent donations to protect the family from illness and bad luck.
The back is ornated with trees of life symbolising a long and happy life, the tea pots on the sides stand for hospitality and a comfortable home.
Some patterns which ought to be totally symmetrical were painted "wrongly" on purpose: suddenly small details are missing or have been designed differently. This is a "trap" for evil ghosts which - as people say - stumble over irregularities and get lost in them forever.
The image on Banu's belly shows a woman playing the Simurg - the legendary bird that only rarely surfaces and brings great luck to the people - the ability to see the Intangible "with the heart".
On the back is the image of a merchant, his white horse and the carpet embroidered with gold are signs of wealth and good business. All the gold that has been used for painting Banu symbolises wealth and a carefree life.
Sponsor: Merck Finck & Co.