Blue and Ivory, Large Floral Embroidered, Square Silk Suzani Cushion



A Square Design Silk Suzani Embroidered Cushion on silk background with a large floral design with a custom down filled cushion pad. The worn blue fragmented detailing is interspersed with multipetaled blooms which loll heavily on fine, twisting stems.

The back is silk.

Available with a custom down filled cushion pad.

Dimensions: 47 cm x 45 cm (18" x 17")

"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.


The word 'ikat' (pronounced 'ee-KAHT') comes from the Malaysian word 'mengikat,' or 'to tie,' because the loose threads are tied into bundles using grasses or wax-treated cotton to specify where the dye is able to sink in and color the thread (basically a refined type of tie-dye). What this means is that the weaver has to calculate out where on the loose threads the dye should (and shouldn't) go in order for it to form the proper pattern when it is woven on the loom. It gets more complicated as you add more colours. Some ikats are made by dyeing the warp threads (the fixed threads that are attached to the loom), some by dyeing the weft threads (the threads that are actually woven in and out of the warp threads), and some by dyeing both, a technique known as double ikat. It's like an aesthetic logic puzzle, and just thinking about it makes my head hurt. Despite this complexity, the technique seems to have developed independently across many different cultures and continents since at least the Dark Ages, appearing in places like Pre-Columbian Peru and Guatemala, 10th century Yemen, Japan, Indonesia, India and Uzbekistan. Some ikats emphasize precision, where it's hard to tell that the ikat technique is used rather than a block printing. For more precise patterning, weavers typically use warp ikats, where they can see the pattern on the loom. With weft ikats, the pattern is less exact, because the design is not visible until already woven through. The 'hazy' look of many ikats (the technique is known as "abra", or "cloud" in Central Asia) also comes from the dyes bleeding slightly into the resist areas. Within the cultures that produced them, ikats were typically status symbols because of the skill and time their production required.

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