Central and Inner Asia

Central and Inner Asia

The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, houses a panel, originally part of a much larger hanging, that is made of cotton and is embroidered in silk and gold thread with the representation of a female celestial musician from the Buddhist pantheon. The panel measures 67 x 45 cm.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, holds a late nineteenth century, densely decorated chapan (coat without front fastenings) from what is now Uzbekistan in Central Asia. The coat, measuring 144 x 98 cm, is made of plain weave cotton with silk thread embroidery, and lined with a silk (resist-dyed) ikat material.

The Textile Research Centre in Leiden houses a pair of embroidered boots from Mongolia. They were acquired in 2008. They are made of felt, leather, vegetable and synthetic fibre. They are 53 cm high and 32 cm long.

The British Museum in London houses a goat's skull from among the Turkmen in Southwest Asia. It is covered with cotton cloth and embroidered with cotton threads. Embroidered goat's skulls seem often to occur with the Turkmen, and particularly with the Yomuts. The decoration includes black and pink floral designs, and multi-coloured plaited threads are wound around the horns. The eyes of the goat are also embroidered.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London holds a large, embroidered cover or hanging (125 x 79 cm) decorated in the suzani tradition. It dates to the second half of the nineteenth century and is said to originate from Bukhara in modern Uzbekistan. The cover is made of seven linen strips that have been sewn together, whereby the embroidered motifs do no always match well together.

The Cleveland Museum of Art, USA, holds a prime example of an Uzbek man's coat made of a cotton ground material and embroidered in cross-stitch with silk thread. It measures 150 x 218 cm. The design of the embroidery was first drawn onto the coat, after which the coat was taken apart and the separate segments embroidered, after which the coat was sewn together again. The coat is lined with ikat cloth.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art houses a man's robe from Uzbekistan. It measures 134 cm (centre back length) and dates to the late nineteenth century. It is made of cotton with metal thread embroidery and a velvet trim. The lining is also made of silk, with resist dyed warps (ikat).

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art houses a woman's robe (munisak) from Uzbekistan, dating to about c. 1875. It is 117 cm long and has a bottom width of 159 cm. It is made of silk and a cotton resist-dye warp thread (ikat). It is furthermore decorated with silk thread embroidery.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a woman's marriage coat from Siberia, which is made of sewn salmon skins. It was acquired by the museum in 1905, and information was added that it was a Gilyak coat from the lower Amur river region, near Vladivostok, from a tribe that was "dying out".

Suzani is the general term for a type of large, embroidered textile from mainly Uzbek communities in Central Asia, and found in Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The term derives from the Persian word suzan or ‘needle’ and suzanduzi for 'needlework'. The oldest surviving suzanis date from the late eighteenth century, but it is likely that their production and use date back to much earlier times.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art houses a large suzani hanging or curtain from the third quarter of the nineteenth century. It measures 211 x 173 cm. It is made of a linen ground material with silk and wool thread embroidery.

The Cleveland Museum of Art houses a remarkable face veil for a bride from among the Tajiks in Central Asia. The veil includes a cotton netting in front of the eyes. The veil measures 76 x 76 cm and is made of silk and cotton. It dates to the (late) nineteenth century.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London holds a relatively old Turkmen chyrpy, a long robe traditionally worn by Tekke Turkmen women over the head and shoulders, with false, decorative sleeves. The robe is made of yellow silk with embroidery in red silk, with small floral motifs. The robe measures 118 x 74 cm.

A white, embroidered woman's robe from the (Tekke) Turkmens in Central Asia is held in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. It has a white ground material, which denotes it was made for an elderly woman or widow. It dates to the first half of the twentieth century. It is made of cotton with silk embroidery. The garment (locally called a chyrpy) is worn over the head and shoulders. The sleeves are purely decorative.

The Uzbek are a Turkic people of Central Asia and they live primarily in modern Uzbekistan, but there are large populations in northern Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.