Oasis Flowers: Central Asian Urban Embroidery Traditions



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  • Free with museum admission
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In Central Asia, the ancient art form of embroidery dates back to at least the third century BC. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century, this tradition manifested in the suzani. Suzanis were large patterned embroidered textiles used for various furnishing functions in the urban homes of towns and cities in present-day Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Utilizing cotton and silk and displaying floral imagery, many of these suzanis were made by girls and women for a bride's trousseau.

In this presentation Sumru Belger Krody, senior curator at the George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum, discusses the role of embroidered textiles in the nineteenth-century urban life of Central Asia, the stylistic differences seen in examples from various oasis cities, and the history and development of suzani designs.

Suzani Detail

Suzani (large embroidered hanging or cover) (detail), mid–19th century. Gift of Mrs. Edward B. Smith.

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