Antique hand-embroidered cotton suzani, Buhkara, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan, 19th Century
Length 227cm, width 161cm
This exquisite suzani textile was handcrafted in 19th-century Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
The suzani features an interesting geometric design and a vibrant array of colours, with red flowers, typical of the Bukhara region, taking centre stage amidst lush green vines, flowers and leaves. Additional elements in yellow, blue, and red adorn the textile.
Suzanis are large embroidered textile panels that originated from nomadic tribes in Central European countries. Primarily used as protective covers within yurts, they served to safeguard belongings and other textiles.
Traditionally, suzanis would be made in multiple parts, allowing several people to work on its creation. Signs of such collaborative work are visible on the join marks in the piece and contribute to the striking composition of the suzani.
Usually made as part of a wedding dowry, suzanis were believed to bring good fortune to the bride and groom in their joint family life. The creation of a suzani began with the careful drawing of a pattern onto the fabric, a feature still visible on the one in Mayfair Gallery’s collection.
The use of natural dyes imbues the textile with a rich array of tones and shades, lending it a captivating visual depth. Handmade and steeped in historical significance, this Bukhara suzani is a remarkable piece that can be used as a functional cover or displayed as a decorative wall hanging, serving as a tangible cultural connection to the past.