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Vibrant Suzani

Suzani cushions on floor

It is rare to find genuine antique suzanis as by their nature, they are impermanent. However it is worth trying to source pieces dating back from the early to mid 20th century which were made with natural vegetable dyes resulting in a beautiful intensity of colour which can’t be matched by the synthetic dyes used primarily today.

This ancient craft very nearly became extinct with the advance of the Industrial Revolution and machine made textiles, and then during Soviet rule when suzanis were expected to reflect Soviet symbols instead of the centuries old ethnic patterns.

But since Uzbekistan’s independence in the 1990’s, suzani is once again being taught to the younger generation. Its future however is still under threat, this time because of the machine made suzani being sold at cheap prices to tourists. If you ever find yourself in the region, be sure to check the provenance of the piece you are buying. Look for imperfections of dye and stitching.