Starting at the 18th century and all the way to the beginning of the 20th century, suzanis were the most widespread household textiles in central Asia. They were mostly made by women of one household preparing a dowery cloth for a bride to be. Each woman would work on one long panel on a drawn design. Once completed the panels would be stitched together lengthwise to form a large cloth to be used around the house as a bedspread, wallhanging or other utilitarian purposes. As each embroiderer pulled differently on the stitches and used different dyes, the registry was off and colors didn’t quite match, thus contributing to a certain vibrancy that is very appealing. Suzani versions from the Bukhara region tend to be bold and rustic in design.
The silk embroidery on cotton ground is executed in chain stitches. Seven panels make up the cotton ground. The inner field is dominated by a large roundel with four smaller roundels in the four corners, and the spaces in between are decorated with vines, scrollwork, florals, and botehs. This smaller field is separated from the larger field with a small floral border. Six large roundels sit in this section with six smaller roundels with botehs reaching outward from them. Like the interior field, they are also surrounded by vines and florals, and the entire piece is framed with a floral and leafy border.
The piece was backed with a matching linen after the photographs were taken. For a similar piece, please see example number 3 in Keshte: Central Asian Embroideries, The Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf Collection.
Circa: 19th century
Material: Silk Embroidery on Cotton
Condition: Two small stains, some deterioration to black embroidery, very good condition
Dimensions: 94" x 69"
Inventory number: TX4988