Iranian Plateau

Iranian Plateau

The Textile Research Centre in Leiden has a protective prayer cloth from Afghanistan (TRC 2007.1132). It measures 29.5 x 29 cm. It is made of cotton with silk thread embroidery. The techniques used are satin stitch and double running stitch

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 Victoria and Albert Museum in London holds a pair of cotton, silk embroidered trousers that date to the mid-nineteenth century and originate from the Zoroastrian community in Iran, and allegedly from the town of Yazd, which is still populated by a large group of adherents of the ancient faith of Zarathustra, also known in the West as Zoroaster.

The Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin houses an embroidered children's bib from among the Ensari Turkmen in Afghanistan. It measures 40 x 37 cm and is made of cotton with silk thread embroidery.

The Turkmen speak a form of Western Ghuz (Oghuz) Turkic, closely related to the languge spoken in modern Turkey, and which now includes many Arabic and Farsi words. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Turkmen region was divided among Afghanistan, Iran and the former Soviet Union. At the end of the twentieth century, the independent republic of Turkmenistan was founded.

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.

'Well-Dressed Afghanistan' was the name of an exhibition set up at the Textile Research Centre in Leiden, from November 2010 until March 2011.

The Textile Research Centre in Leiden has a cotton woman's blouse (locally called a pirahan) from Iran, which is decorated with metal thread hand embroidery. It dates to the first half of the twentieth century.

The Textile Research Centre in Leiden houses a yurt bag from the Uzbeks in Afghanisan, dating to the mid-twentieth century. It measures 80 x 38 x 24 cm. It is made of a cotton ground material with silk embroidery.

The Textile Research Centre in Leiden has a pair of 1960s embroidered breeches from Afghanistan that were worn by wrestlers in a zurkhane (TRC 2016.1772).

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