A late 20th century Suzani hanging from Uzbekistan. Circa 1980.
Silk embroidery on cotton burgundy coloured ground.
Uzbek Suzani (Persian: ‘needle’) is a traditional Central Asian embroidered tapestry made on silk, velvet or cotton cloth. Since ancient times suzanis have been integral parts of the common home interior decoration in the region. They also served as talismans. The largest ones – 2-3 meters in length and about 2 meters in width – were usually hung in homes to mark family festive occasions. Suzanis were always made by women, including brides whose needlework was the most colorful, as a rule. A suzani design signifies a happy marriage and so is very important. An ordinary Central Asian girl started embroidering her suzani at the age of 10-12 and had to finish it by her wedding day, leaving one of the designs of it incomplete – a sign that she wanted to have a daughter who would go on making suzanis in the future. Embroidery skills were highly valued in Central Asia in the past.