THE STORY BEHIND VINTAGE SUZANI EMBROIDERY
Hunting out those pieces that take your home to the next level is what gets us up in the morning and when we discovered these vintage wall hangings (Suzani) we couldn't help but get excited.
The female kinship, colour and craft of these beautiful vintage pieces are a celebration in themselves. Originating from Uzbekistan the traditional silk needlework tapestries are steeped in history and display a craftsmanship that's been handed down between women for centuries. In Uzbek homes every surface is covered with textiles of some kind but it's the Suzani that's the star of the show. And with UNESCO world heritage status awarded to the Uzbek city of Bukhara, the importance of a colourful history dating back fifteen hundred years depicted in these tapestries is a story to the City. A City that's been ruled by the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great, the Samanids, and more recently, the Soviet Union.
Our selection of Suzani all originate from the Soviet era c.1970-80 where they were made to mark national holidays or as celebrations of a special event. Some feature strong political messages and we especially love how those strong messages are juxtaposed with folk art flowers and a softer, more whimsical design.
The Suzani are designed to be wall hangings or bed coverings and were traditionally the main component of a bride's dowery. The Suzani designer, a Kalamkash would sketch out her elaborate design on the base of the cotton fabric. Depending on the size of the piece, these would often be divided up into several strips. The fabric would then be handed over to a family of mother, aunts, sisters and cousins to embroider separately for the bride to be. Once complete they would be pieced together. The hand embroidery is very labor intensive and it was usual to begin this process soon after a daughter was born. Generally four pieces are included in a dowry, including the Suzani which becomes a much treasured item in the new family's home.
Special pieces like these are what make your home a beautiful and original space. Adding colour and texture to your walls while offering a chance to get close to the past while understanding the beauty and tradition the Suzani hold.