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      What is suzani?

      Suzani is a type of colorful, embroidered textile that originate in Central Asia, with special prevelance among Uzbek and Tajik communities. The word “suzani” comes from the Persian word “suzan” which means needle, so in essence suzani is needle work.

      A suzani is embroidered most typically with a silk thread, although cotton can aslo be used. The base material is usually a so-called adras, which is a cotton and silk composite, but it for more expensive suzani it can also be a pure silk satin base.

      Who creates suzani?

      Suzani are sewn and embroidered almost exclusively by women – but not always! Traditionally a suzani would be a bride’s present to the groom’s family upon moving into her new home and as a result suzanis feature symbols that are connected to fertility, abundance and protection from the evil eye.

      In the old days a suzani would be sewn by one single woman and thus the patterns and designs were more uniform. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to find new suzanis that are created by a single person, due to the economic cost and as a result it is teams of several women that work together to produce a suzani.

      That being said, there do exist master suzani makers who are men.

      CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

      What are the different types of suzani?

      Suzanis are meant to cover something, a wall, a table, a bed, a couch or whatever else. Traditionally, they were used to cover walls or beds and to a lesser extent tables, but nowadays people have become inventive with the use of suzanis and use them as pillow cases or even curtains. The only thing to keep in mind is that the embroidery is quite delicate, therefore suzanis cannot be used as carpets or in any other placement where there will be a lot of wear and tear. That also means that cleaning them is not so easy – either handwash them very delicately or take them to a specialist.

      CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

      Where can you buy authentic suzani?

      Authentic suzani come from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and to a smaller extent also the neighboring countries of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. This is the home of this artfrom and any suzani that comes from another country, such as India or Pakistan, can be considered an inauthentic copy. Unfortunately, Indian made suzanis have flooded the market lately, supressing the price and making it more difficult for the authentic, traditional craftswomen of Central Asia to sell their wares in the West.

      On Silkway Bazar we only sell authentic, traditional Uzbek or Tajik suzani that comes straight from the women that put their souls into making these amazing pieces of art and decoration.

      CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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