A large silk suzani cushion – hand embroidered 65cm x 49cm rectangular cushion with custom rectangular down filled cushion pad
“Suzani” means needlework, coming from the Persian ‘Suzan’ which means needle. The art of making such textiles in Iran is called Suzandozi (needlework). In the nineteenth century, Uzbek women produced fabulous embroidered hangings, bed covers, wrapping cloths, table covers, and prayer mats for their households and their daughters’ dowries. Since the downfall of the Soviet Union, the central Asian trade in this old craft has opened up, giving the people of places like Uzbekistan a new income. Suzanis usually have a cotton fabric base, we have been able to source a number of high quality weavings where the base is made from silk and embroidery threads are also silk.
Two traditional stitches are used in a majority of the pieces: primarily basma stitch, sometimes called Bukhara couching, and less often, chain stitch. With the basma stitch, long strands are first laid across the fabric surface. Then these are secured with short couching stitches that are normally aligned diagonally. Chain stitch is normally done with a fine tambour hook that’s much like a tiny crochet hook. A suzani may be worked entirely with chain stitch, or the technique may be combined with basma couching. Chain stitch is most often used for outlining couched areas or for producing delicate linear elements and fine details. Popular design motifs include sun and moon disks, flowers (especially tulips, carnations, and irises), leaves and vines, fruits (especially pomegranates), and occasional fish and birds.