Bukhara Embroidery

Some of the most amazing embroidery comes from an old province in Uzbekistan.  I haven’t been to Uzbekistan yet. But, I was fortunate to see  a few pieces of embroidery work from the region from a local exhibit a few years back. Bukhara is a province in Uzbekistan and is still considered one of the holiest cities in Central Asia, its history reaches back thousands of years.

Detail from Thomas Cole Antique Rugs & Textiles – Uzbek

It once was considered the very epicenter of intellectual thought, culture and art. Located near the famous Silk Road, Bukhara was at one time the largest and most populated city in Central Asia, home to artists, holy men, thinkers and scientists. Bukhara is a place of great treasures of antiquity and archeology making it a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.  One treasure of Bukhara that can be enjoyed by everyone even today is the beautiful Bukharan embroidery. Different schools of embroidery are represented by the Bukhara, Shafirkan, Nurato, Gijduvan, Fergana, Tashkent and Urgut provinces.

Each school has unique characteristics from the other. All are stunning and beautiful. The embroidery is used in blankets, clothing, home decor items like curtains, table linens, and pillows. The embroidery also serves in ceremonial and religious purposes as in the use of praying or prayer rugs.

Photos don’t do the embroidery justice, and should be seen to be appreciated. Remembering that this was and still is all done by hand boggles the mind. No embroidery machine here! Here are just a few examples of the embroidery work. Most of this type of embroidery is bold in color and intricate design work. Some of the larger pieces were used as bed coverings of which you can buy contemporary pieces online.

Image from Thomas Cole Antique Rugs & Textiles – Suzani
Detail Image from Thomas Cole Antique Rugs & Textiles Suzani

Here are some ladies doing embroidery work.

Image from Uztextile.com

If you ever get a chance to see this embroidery either contemporary or old do so. This type of embroidery is an inspiring example of how modest hands can transform simple threads into a breathtaking example of beauty and creativity. The Bukhara embroidery is a perfect illustration of how the human spirit works through creative means regardless of class, gender or condition, it’s craft work at it’s finest.

Resources and further reading and viewing

Thomas Cole Antique Rugs and Textiles has some amazing examples with great photos of Uzbekistan’s embroidery.
For further reading please check out the Textile Blog which has a great post on Uzbekistan’s rich embroidery heritage.
Wonderful post on travels to see Uzbek embroidery from Anita’s Feast.
Great photos and article on Uzbekistan’s embroidery by Uzbek Textiles.
Flickr Photo Group – Bicycling in Burkhara
UNESCO Site – More on historic Burkhara and it’s UNESCO status.

by, Jill, Creative Machine Embroidery

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