About this artwork
Densely embroidered with colorful silk threads, this lush hanging or cover exemplifies suzani textiles produced during the latter half of the nineteenth century in eastern Uzbekistan, particularly near the oasis cities of Bukhara and Kokand. Art historians and collectors use the term suzani to describe a family of embroidered textiles made in Central Asia by urban dwelling Uzbek and Tajik women. During the nineteenth century, young women in particular embroidered hangings and covers as well as other household linens for their trousseaux.
The design and embroidery of a suzani usually involved a number of steps. The pieced, plain woven cotton cloth that serves as the ground fabric for the embroidery was purchased in a single length, then cut and stitched together to produce a large rectangular panel upon which a designer, known as a kalamkash, could draw the pattern. To complete the embroidery, the embroiders agreed on the colors for the different parts of the design, the lengths were unstitched, and then each embroiderer worked carefully on her own to complete her panel. When the embroiderers finished the panels, they once again were stitched together to produce a finished object. This suzani, comprised of four lengths, shows signs of the different embroiderers’ hands, particularly in the central floral motif. Divided between two cotton panels along the center line of the design, half of the carnation-like blossom features black embroidered details, while these same details on the other half of the flower were embroidered in a lighter brown thread. These types of subtle misregistrations highlight the combined efforts involved in making these important domestic furnishings.
- Currently Off View
- Suzani (large hanging or cover)
- Uzbekistan (Object made in)
- Made 1840–1890
- Cotton, plain weave, embroidered with silk
- 221 × 168.9 cm (87 × 66 1/2 in.)
- Gift of Susan R. Lewis