Textile fragment, handwoven cotton (buz or karbos), Mukhabat Kuchkorova or Farkhed Ramazanov, Shafirkhan, Uzbekistan, 2002
This is a part of a collection of materials for the making of suzanis which is an interesting insight into the means of construction of these embroidered cloths which are an important historical and cultural part of the life of Central Asian (Uzbek and Tajik) women.
Suzanis are large, colourful embroideries produced for a range of domestic purposes but which embody important and symbolic traditions during wedding festivities. They comprise one of the region's most beautiful traditional products and were made in the area between Bukhara in present day Uzbekistan and northern Tajikistan, until supplanted by bright printed fabrics from Russia in the early 1900s. Today, traditional suzani making is enjoying a revival, as this item reflects.
The handwoven cotton fabric is called buz, which is typically about 30cm wide, and has been used for making suzanis since the 8th century. In Shafirkhan, buz is now woven by the blind (usually women) and sometimes the cloth is dyed a soft brown with bark from the apricot (zardoli) tree. The embroidery threads are of naturally-dyed silk. Suzanis came in a range of traditional sizes and were used for different purposes, from wall hangings, to bed covers, cradle cloths and bread cloths.
The hand woven cotton fabric for both the suzani and nim-suzani is known as buz (Tajik: karbos), which is typically about 30 cm wide and has been used for making suzanis since the 8th century. In Shafirhkan, buz is now woven by the blind (usually women), and sometimes, as in the case of the small piece of material for a nim-suzani, is dyed a soft brown with bark from the apricot (zardoli) tree.
The suzani material consists of three narrow strips of buz which were tacked together before the design was drawn. Instructions for the colours to be used are also included on the material. When the suzani is to be embroidered, the tacking is removed and each strip embroidered separately before being rejoined and finished.
This material was dyed by Farkhed Ramazanov or his wife, suzani 'master' Mukhabat Kuchlorova. Farkhed joined his wife in the business of suzani production in about 1990 having watched his grandmother make suzanis which captured his interest and imagination. Their designs are inspired by old suzanis, seen on visits to the Bukhara Ark and Summer Palace Museums.
This item, which is connected to the construction of suzanis, has been purchased from the suzani 'master', Mrs Mukhabat Kuchkorova, in Shafirkhan, following a visit to her home by Christina Sumner, curator international decorative art and design. while on-duty overseas in Central Asia in March 2001 and November 2002.