What is Suzani embroidered fabric? Well, it represents one of the most amazing creations ever to come out of Central Asia - something that’s illustrated by the fact that the hand-craft material is as popular today as it was centuries ago.
The word ‘Suzani’ comes from the Farsi word ‘Suzan’, which translates into English as ‘needle’, pointing towards the painstaking process that’s required to create it. The exact origin is not completely clear, but contemporary wisdom suggests that it first came from the central Asian countries of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan.
Suzani Used As a Girl’s Right of Passage
Suzani embroidered fabric is steeped in culture, with young girls from the region learning the craft from an early age. Together, with the help of female family members, girls would (and still do) create dowries that remain with them throughout their childhood and into adult life, being used to decorate their new home after getting married.
Such is the sentimentality of the fabric in this part of the world. Some of the most beautiful examples in existence are passed down from generation to generation. Back in the day, marriages in Asia were often arranged, with the bride and groom not able to see each other beforehand.
A Symbol of Family Union
To demonstrate a girl's suitability as a wife, her parents would display examples of embroidery work in the home when they visited. Tablecloths, teapot covers, and wall hangings would all be proudly shown to illustrate the girl’s spirit, tastes, skill, and personality in the hope of getting the marriage arranged.
The textile would also play a central role at the wedding, with Suzani embroidered fabric being presented to the groom, symbolizing the union of the two families. In this regard, dowries of this kind stand for good, fertility, and health, commonly featuring floral and celestial motifs.
Typically Created With Cotton or Silk
Generally speaking, Suzani embroidered fabric is created from cotton, although there are occasions when you’ll find it made from silk. The process begins with the pattern being drawn onto the base fabric, then used as a guide for the colorful stitching that characterizes the textile.
When you see large Suzani panels, they will usually be made up of two or more pieces stitched together, allowing multiple people to work on it simultaneously. Also, there are usually just four separate stitching styles used to create the fabric:
- Tambour stitch
- Basma stitch
- Chain stitch
- Kanda-khayol stitch
For centuries, these colorful threads were dyed naturally. However, in recent years - particularly in commercial manufacturing - they have been replaced by synthetic dyes. However, this does nothing to detract from their unmistakable beauty.
The Jaw-Dropping Patterns of Suzani
One thing that isn’t up for debate is the beauty of the intricate patterns found on Suzani embroidered fabric, which come with a variety of different motifs. For example, Bukhara Suzani includes images of serrated leaves, vines, and red flowers. In contrast, the Fergana is characterized by stylized floral arrangements.
Also, the Pushkent Suzani has red star medallions, the Nurata Suzani features real flower images and the Tashkent Suzani has serrated borders and rows of red medallions. Each city and region of a country such as Uzbekistan has its variations on a central theme. That said, one common denominator is present in every form - mesmerizing design patterns of sheer beauty.
Authentic Suzani Is Bold & Vibrant
There are no two Suzani patterns alike, which is one of the things that make this textile so unique. Influenced by region, age, and the individual creator themselves, the very culture and lives of the people of Central Asia shine through in every stitch.
It’s simple enough to spot authentic Suzani embroidered fabric as it’s bold, vibrant, and eye-catching. Other fashion manufacturers often try to imitate the style, but most often, the result is a pale version that simply doesn’t have the same allure or color vividity.
A Range of Gorgeous Ways to Wear It
As you’ll see by visiting the Little Istanbul Gifts shop, there are several ways you can enjoy the head-turning beauty of Suzani. There’s a selection of attractive footwear, such as sneakers, sandals, and boots, as well as some simply wonderful Suzani bags like totes, messenger bags, and satchels.
Able to be coordinated with many different styles of outfit, Suzani represents a fantastic option to add to anyone’s wardrobe.
Why Not Include Some Suzani Style in Your Wardrobe?
All things considered, Suzani is fabric that emits an elegance and elan unlike any other fashion choice out there. Steeped in history and culture, it’s not surprising that it’s so well received by customers in Asia, Europe and the United States of America.
We’ve tried to explain its beauty here in words, but in truth, the only way to really appreciate Suzani embroidered fabric is to see it first hand. Only then can you really understand the skill, effort and history that goes into making each and every piece.