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      What are the different styles of suzani?

      There are multiple regional styles of suzani, spread over several countries and ethnic groups, each with its own heritage of design. The foillowing list is not even close to exhausitve, but covers the most well known regional styles.

      Bukhara Style

      One of the most famous types of Uzbek suzani is the Bukhara style, which is known for its use of bright colors and the designs often feature geometric shapes, flowers, and birds.

      Bukhara style suzani.Suzani (Boukhara, Ouzb√©kistan)” by dalbera is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

      Nurota Style

      Suzanis from the Western Uzbek town of Nurota, mainly populated by Tajiks, are probably the most intricate in their patterns and the use of colors. A typical Nurota suzani has floral motifs in the fourn corners that point towards a central emblem. The base cloth tends to be covered completely and it is not uncommon to find images of birds and animals, something that other regions do not tend to showcase.

      Nurota style suzani

      Shakhrisabz Style

      Shakhrisabz, the hometown of Amir Timur, aka Timur the Lame, has one of the most recognizable suzani styles that is known for displaying a large medallion shape in the center and smaller medallions in the corners. The embroidery used is chain stitch and the base cloth is usually colored.

      Samarkand Style

      Samarkand style suzani are known for being fairly simple and they tend to feature a dark red rosette in the middle surrounded by a floral pattern.

      Urgut Style

      Urgut, a town to the south-west of Samarkand is known as the capital of the suzani trade in Uzbekistan. The suzani from there are similar to Samarkand with their circular designs, but they have also have a special stitching style that is peculiar to the town called “bosma”. The base materials are usually white, yellow or red and they tend to have thicker embroidering than others.

      Urgut style suzani. Secretum Mundi, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

      Tashkent Style

      Tashkent is the capital city of Uzbekistan and is known for its modern take on suzani embroidery. Tashkent style suzanis are characterized by their use of bold, bright colors and graphic, abstract designs. This style of suzani is often used in contemporary home decor.

      Traditionally there were two types of suzani made in Tashkent: palyak and gulkurpa. Palyak suzanis standout with their large dark red circle patterns that fill the base cloth densely, while Gulkurpa (flower blanket) were made to serve as blankets on a wedding bed; their bright floral design symbolizing a happy and large family.

      Tashkent style suzani

      Fergana Valley Style

      The Fergana Valley is a region that is shared between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and is known for its production of textiles and fabric. There are various styles to be found in the Fergana Valley, but generally speaking, the suzani from the region are characterized by floral motifs and geometric shapes. Colors used for embroiding tend to be violet or dark green and they prefer using a silk or satin base. The embroidery is light and delicate with no fixed location.

      Ferghana Valley style suzani

      Khujand Style

      Khujand is a city in northern Tajikistan, located in the Fergana Valley, with a rich tradition of sewing suzanis. In Khujand, the motifs of pomegranates and peppers tend to feature heavily. Pomegranates are a symbol of life, while the pepper is a protection against the evil eye and also signifies male fertility.

      Southern Tajik Style

      In the southern part of Tajikistan suzani designs tend to display big flowers and various Zoroastrian symbols, such as earth, wind, fire, water and the four directions of the world: north, south, east and west.

      Panjakent Valley Style

      In the Panjakent Valley of Tajikistan, suzanis usually feature a white base embroidered with black thread. This is meant to represent the fact that life and death go hand in hand, while the small red flowers in between symbolize the moments of joy and happiness throughout one’s life. 

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