Vintage Embroidered Textile, Uzbek Suzani Silk Wedding Saddle Cover
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Vintage Embroidered Textile, Uzbek Suzani Silk Wedding Saddle Cover


Afghan Tribal Arts has been importing from Afghanistan and the region since the 1980’s. The focus is on vintage textiles and tribal jewelry as well as new gemstone beads made for jewelry designers. Clicking on the Shop on Etsy button will take you to our shop there where you can see what is currently in stock.

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Silk embroidery on black cotton fabric. The embroidery is rather unusual in this piece and though we are guessing that it is Uzbek, we’re not sure. Tightly stitched in silk, the piece resembles others in the region that are used as saddle covers for a bride as she rides a horse on her wedding day. No signs of machine sewing are visible and the background fabric is either Chinese or Russian floral fabric that has almost faded completely, so this is an old piece. The dyes are probably synthetic that were not stable and have run throughout the embroidery, creating a nice, soft pink overcast.

24″ x 19.5″ (61 x 50 cm)

Estimated age: 1930’s

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Suzani textiles go all out for impact in color, size and their recognizable floral flair. Appropriately, the word suzani means needle, but is used to refer to the larger tapestries.

Throughout history, nomadic women and girls of Uzbekistan embroidered these large tapestries to adorn their yurts and tents. They were dowry pieces as well as a way of adding a personal stamp to ones living space. Large pieces were often worked on by several people at once, each on a strip that would later be joined together. Sometimes the strips wouldn’t match up or someone would go nuts on their own colors of choice. I remember when I first saw these textiles over 20 years ago- I fell in love with the organic fluidity of the motifs, the imperfections, and the wild color choices. It was my introduction to the silk road and I have been hooked since.

Suzanis have always been a source of good income for women, too. Village women wanted them for their homes and to this day, embroidery continues to be a vital source of income for Uzbeki women. Older suzanis are highly collectible. They often use silk threads with tight embroidery, but are becoming harder and harder to find.

Visit Rayela’s Fiber Focus for more articles on suzanis:

Afghanistan has been at the heart of the crossroads for the Silk Road for centuries. Nomads and generations of ethnic groups have thrived on trade and beautiful handicraft skills. Textiles, embroidery and carpet weaving continue to represent a plethora of skills that extend on into metal work, wood work, and ceramics. Designs reflect both the beauty of nature and life of spirit in choice of colors and fluidity of the design.

Afghan Tribal Arts has been working with Afghan artists for more than 20 years. Handcarved semi-precious beads are the core focus of the business, but we also have a huge inventory of old and new textiles, carvings and metal work. Visit our shop here on Etsy to see our beautiful treasures!

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Afghan Tribal Arts

I have been importing from Central Asia since the 1980’s. Afghan Tribal Arts focuses on hand carved gemstones, beads, tribal jewelry, vintage textiles and nomadic carpets. We have a huge inventory of handmade crafts from around the world.

Our gallery is at 626 Broadway in Paducah, Kentucky, USA. We have a nice selection of beads and smaller items on Etsy: Visit us!

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The products you see here are examples of what we have sold in the past. Let us know what you are looking for and we will work with you.  We have lots of photos of our gallery on our Facebook page and you can look through them and contact us if you see something you want to know more about.

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