Embroidered suzani fabrics from central Asia offer enduring charm, color and value.
Textile collectors have long been acquainted with embroidered suzani textiles. These vividly colored and embroidered textiles originated in Uzebekistan and Kazakhstan as wedding treasures, such as pieced bed covers and wall hangings. They are easy to spot with their patterned floral and abstract silk embroidery on tea-stained cotton or silk textiles. Suzan is Persian for needle.
Long appreciated in Turkey, where Architectural Digest photographed embroidered pillow covers on outdoor furniture, they were discovered by the west about five years ago. At that time their great design and craftsmanship could be obtained at modest prices. Soon the blogs were featuring embroidered suzanis and well-respected textile dealers like Marla Mallett collected and resells some of the choicest antiques. Ms. Mallet also provides great basic information about suzanis.
Back in 2008, our Allison discovered Antiquarian Textiles, a lovely source for suzani pillow and bed covers on eBay which, sadly, no longer exists. There are many new sellers there now and elsewhere on the web.
We both ordered hand-embroidered pillow covers – about $35 each – which arrived direct from Tashkent neatly folded in a super old-fashioned paper-wrapped package sealed with string and wax. Allison’s sit on her living room arm chairs.
Mine are perfect on my plaid Swedish Rococo living room sofa.
I also use one for the seat cushion on the Vic-y Chippendale garden chair at the side table (where I sew) in the sun room.
After receiving the pillow cases I began looking at the bigger suzanis which can be hung like quilts. While conventional, their graphic spheres and tendrils work well in modern interiors such as the one in a Positano Villa [top].
British fabric designer Bridgette Singh’s “ Poppy on Cream” goods were used by New York interiors artist Sara Gilbane to create a memorable bed canopy accompanied by a suzani folded neatly across the foot.
(Source: apartmenttherapy, Architectural Digest,saragilbaneinteriors, House & Garden)
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