AUD $240.00

Tajik, Embroidered Suzani

A vibrantly embroidered almost square “bolingpush” from Leninabad, Tajikistan.
Traditionally used for weddings.
With an extraordinary central rosette, of red vegetable flames, enclosing a yellow flower.
These in turn encircled with off-white swirling plant growth surrounded by smaller attendant emerald flowers.
(This main red and white rosette reminds me of a cornflower.)
The combination of white, yellow, red and green on a dark foundation is very typical of Tajik suzanis, the flesh highlights just add a nice touch.
It is often said these rosettes trace back to animistic and solar images from the far distant past, promoting fertility and springtime abundance. The white borders are very “Scythian”.

The backing cloth is a mellow faded black cotton, embroidered with areas of “basma” stitch with faded cotton.
During dyeing the colours have taken differently, then over time fading to produce a delightful “abrash” of variable shades, indicating where different dye batches have been used.
This adds a valuable texture and a mellow warmth to broad areas, toning down the otherwise solid colours.
Being an older used piece hung for decoration over at least a generation there are some minor stains, a few tiny holes and a little discolouration to the off-whites (though these also look like more “abrash”.)
I would leave them alone as they add character and the colours might run if you try to carefully hand wash them, (although they are probably safer than the silk floss embroideries, which can run terribly.)

There are traces of the smokey scents of burning camel or cow dung cooking fires, lingering in the weave if you hold it close, and sniff. It’s not strong like nomad pieces but has possibly had a past use before it had its reinforcing border machine stitched to it, in a more urban setting. Then, revived it has been hung on display in a house for some time, perhaps for another generation. (There are small fabric loops at the top to allow easy hanging.)
This machining is skilfully done with intertwining patterns, criss crossing and flourishes.
On the reverse old floral and “paisley” printed cottons have been used as edging, there are even traces of old “Russian” newspaper padding visible in places.

Incidentally, with Suzanis you may sometimes notice joins in the fabric and slight mismatches in the corresponding embroidery.
This is because the loosely tacked together pieces are drawn on, then seperated for different embroiderers to work.
The finished pieces are then rejoined, often the embroidery is slightly out of register (or in some cases drastically so!)

Age: Mid 20th century.

Size: H 115 cm x W 110 cm (H 45 ins x W 43 ins.)

Weight: 439 grams.