The Great Embroideries of Bukhara

beginning of the 19th century or earlier

122 x 178 cm (4ft 0in x 5ft 10in)
silk embroidery in chain stitch on a cotton foundation

Design type G

Large round or oval medallion with side- and top-view flowers in the corners of the field; primary border flanked by guard borders. Five examples known.


plate J2

Vok Collection, Padua.

Formerly: Tom Hardie, Kabul; The Textile Gallery, London, 1973-75; private collection, Johannesburg; The Textile Gallery, London; Eberhart Herrmann, Munich. Published: Hali, 1, 2, Summer 1978, p. 129, fig. 6; Vok Collection, 1994, pl. 45; Purdon, 1996, p. 62, fig. 17. Exhibited: London, The Textile Gallery, 'Ten Suzani', 1975; Johannesburg, The Old Johannesburg Gallery, 1976.

The Large Medallion suzani generally employ basma, a relatively coarse laid and couched stitch, for most of the embroidery; but sometimes a single petal or a ewer placed within a flower might be worked in very fine chain stitch to act as a contrast. One example of this type, however, now in the Vok Collection and illustrated here in colour, plate G2, uses only chain stitch throughout. This is possibly one of the most finely embroidered suzani extant. Again, it is most likely that other extraordinarily fine examples worked entirely in chain stitch were made, and quite possibly survive.

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