The Great Embroideries of Bukhara

Large Rectangular Medallion
beginning of the 19th century or earlier

187 x 280 cm (6ft 2in x 9ft 2in)
silk embroidery, predominantly in basma technique, on a cotton foundation

Design type C

Large rectangular medallion; primary border flanked by narrow minor borders. Two examples known.


plate C1

M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, inv. no. L84.166.6.

Formerly: Tom Harding, Kabul, 1965; The Textile Gallery, London, 1973-79; private collection, San Francisco, 1979-83; The Textile Gallery, London, 1983; Caroline and H. McCoy Jones Collection, Reno. Published: Hali, 1, 2, Summer 1978, p. 128, fig. 2; Cootner, 1985; Hali, 30, April-June 1986, front cover and p. 47, fig. 3. Exhibited: London, The Textile Gallery, 'Ten Suzani', 1975; Lörrach-Tüllingen, David Lindahl and Thomas Knorr, 'Uzbek', 1975; San Francisco, Fine Arts Museums, De Young Gallery 2, December 1985.

The medallion of this type is rectangular in format and similar to type B, and the in-fill designs within it are similar to types A and B. Unlike the latter, however, the central roundel does not have an outer spiral ring. The medallion is surrounded by a continuous spiral pattern, larger at the ends than at the sides. Hooked petals protrude from the top and bottom edges of the medallion in C1, and in C2 they extend from the spiral.

On the central axis at each end of the medallion is a small top-view flower from which extend wide stems filled with patterns similar to those of the main ëspokesí. Between these stems and the edge of the field are blue irises and other small flowers. In each of the four corners of the field is a small side-view flower. As with type B, the field is enclosed by a fully-embroidered narrow border. Beyond this is a wide primary border. In the four corners and at the centre of the two long sides of the border are large top-view flowers, which are flanked by large side-view flowers surrounded by gold spiralling. The wide stem at the ends of the field is repeated around the flowers. Small flowers fill the empty spaces in the border. A wider fully-embroidered band is used around the perimeter, and again this repeats patterns from the spokes of the medallion.

In many ways this composition feels the most complete of the ten types. The medallion fills most of the central field and is pleasingly balanced by the wide - but not too wide - primary border flanked by fully embroidered guard stripes. Its proportions are not too dissimilar to those of a traditional Persian medallion rug of the sixteenth-century Safavid period. Yet its formality seems to defy the bold abstract monumental character of types A and B. The colours of type C are more in keeping with examples attributable to the second period, and the refinement of the drawing suggests that they possibly date from the very beginning of this phase.

Go to: Introduction | previous plate (type B) | next plate (type E)

The Textile Gallery
12 Queen Street Mayfair, London W1J 5PG, England
tel (44-20) 7499 7979
| fax (44-20) 7409 2596
email | website

All text and images © textile-art, 2000, unless otherwise stated:
not to be reproduced without permission
Site designed, created, evolved and maintained by The Textile Gallery