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Ornamental art and symbolism : activators of historical regeneration for Kazakhstan's landscape architecture

Yussupova, Akmaral and Songfu, Liu and Namazbay, Ardasher and Rahimian, Farzad Pour and Ebrahimi, Ahad Nejad (2017) Ornamental art and symbolism : activators of historical regeneration for Kazakhstan's landscape architecture. Archnet-IJAR, 11 (3). pp. 193-213. ISSN 1938-7806

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The use of symbolism in contemporary architecture is increasingly gaining momentum, especially so in the Eastern countries currently undergoing rapid economic development. Sociologically, this phenomenon can be related to a desire to manifest a vast wealth of national art and respond to the globalisation and unification of world culture. Taking this tendency as a prompt, this study explores different ways of implementing symbolic ornaments in landscape architecture. Traditionally architecture has been defined through and judged against culturally acceptable criteria that set the norm for appropriate form and expression. Yet, technical advances have altered this process and contributed to a certain level of oblivion of traditional architectural form. Thus, the meaning of many Kazakh ornaments has been lost through time. On one hand, this paper collects historical information on the semiotics of Kazakh ornaments and on the other hand, it conducts field studies focusing on the cultural tradition of the native people in Eurasia. The study introduces the use of symbolism in landscape architecture as an aspiration for luck and prosperity which then dictates the quality of the landscape compositions. The findings show that the use of symbolic ornamentation in architecture is not bound to specific geographic areas but rather motivated by broader underlying principles. Through analytical exploration of different cultures and their use of symbols in architecture, this study identifies four main categories of architectural symbolism relating to floral, zoomorphic, geometric and cosmogonic patterns. Each nation then recognises its own identity in the semiotics of those patterns and incorporates them in the urban realm as part of its cultural legacy.