What is Suzani ?

The word Suzan is Persian and translates to a needle, and suzandozi stands for needlework. In Iran, the art of making these delicate suzanis is called suzandozi. The skill of making these hand-embroidered textiles has been passed on from ancient times. These pretty textiles with vibrant colors and intricate patterns were used to decorate household items. The only ones surviving today are from the late 18th century to the early 19th century.

Suzanis were presented by the brides of Central Asia to their grooms on the wedding day. And during trying times, the couple would trade them with gypsies for basic necessities or money. Perhaps why these decorative textiles were considered an essential dowry item. Right after the birth of a baby girl – her female relatives would start preparing the suzani fabric. First, a family member would take the base fabric to a kalamkash – a suzani designer who sketches out the intricate pattern on the cloth. The fabric is further cut into smaller pieces and distributed among the female relatives who embroider them individually. The embroidered pieces are later stitched together to form one whole piece.

The embroidery techniques & patterns

The embroidery techniques used in a Suzani are chain stitches (yurma), double buttonhole stitches (ilmok), and couching. Couching is a technique where a fancy thread is laid on the base fabric and sewn with the help of another thread. Two types of couching techniques are used in suzani fabric – the basma stitch and the slanting kanda khayol.

The commonly found designs in a Suzani fabric are flowers such as tulips, hyacinths, irises and carnations, sun and moon disks, fruits like pomegranates, leaves, birds, and fishes. Some of these designs aren’t native to Central Asia but were inspired by the designs from neighboring regions. The vine pattern used on the fringes of a Suzani was inspired by the scrolls of grapes found in the Hellenic motifs. These vines are usually seen sprouting out of a watering jar and spreading around the boundaries of the fabric. The wild hyacinths and tulips are more Turkish. The carnations or pomegranate blossoms are supposed to be decorative versions of a lotus which in turn is a symbol of Buddhism. And the Persian tree of life influenced the botha motif or the teardrop pattern.

The Use of Suzani embroidery

Uzbek silk suzani embroidery looks elegant and rich when it comes to decorate your home with silk suzani embroidery, incorporate the following ideas given below.

Beddings

Add some splash of color to a neutral bedroom with suzani fabrics. A quilt with intricate silk suzani embroidery and matching pillow covers will look charming on an all-white bed. You can buy a couple of suzani pillows and quilt covers and keep changing your bedding every now and then for a different look. Try keeping the furnishings a bare minimum and stick to natural wood furniture. This will help draw more attention to your suzani beddings.

Tablecloth

Have an old dining table that looks shabby, but you don’t want to get rid of it just yet? Covering the table with a long silk suzani tablecloth instantly upgrades your shabby dining table to an elegant one. Pick a fabric with beautiful bird embroidery or heavy floral work for a refined look. You can choose to save the tablecloth for special occasions or use them all year round.

Wall Hangings

Framed suzani fabrics look pretty and sophisticated. They can be hung in grand entryways, hallways, or in your living room. They make a fabulous substitute for framed wall art and add a touch of uniqueness. For a rather relaxed look, you can hang the suzanis without the frame. You can loosely hang a suzani throw or a blanket above your bed. This approach works well for a bohemian-style house.

Upholstery Fabric

Textiles with Uzbek silk suzani embroidery look indulgent. These fabrics would make an ordinary sofa or chair look luxurious. Use a suzani fabric with vintage motifs as the upholstery fabric for a winged chair. This chair can be a fine statement piece in your house.

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