PENNELL, Suzanne (2015). The Art of Gold Embroidery in Uzbekistan, Brisbane: StoryBridge Press. ISBN: 9780992303730, softback, b/w illustrations, bibliography, glossary, list of relevant museums. no index. Price: US$: c. 25.00.
A revised version of an MA thesis submitted as part of a research degree of Master of Arts in the School of Anthropology, Archaeology and Sociology at James Cook University of North Queensland. The original thesis was submitted in 2000 and this is a second and revised version (2015). Some advertisements for this book state it is in full colour, but it is not. There are only b/w illustrations. The book is divided into six chapters with two appendices. The text look as the (1) cultural, historical and religious context of zardozi (metal thread embroidery), (2) relevant materials, tools and techniques, including how the production of commercial/professional embroidery was organised. These chapters are followed by (3) one concerning the use of zardozi during the khanates (c. 1800-1865), and (4) then under the Russians (both the Tsars and Communists) in the latter half of the 19th century and the 20th century. There is then a chapter (5) about contemporary gold embroidery practices in Uzbekistan. The last chapter (6) is basically a summary and conclusion concerning the role of zardozi within Uzbek society and culture for the last two hundred years.
Recommendations: As can be expected from an MA thesis the tone of the book is academic with numerous footnotes and explanations. It provides a detailed description of the history and role of professional gold thread embroidery in Uzbekistan and should be included in any library that deals with Central Asian textiles, and embroidery in particular.
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, November 2017