Suzani Embroideries

Suzani (from Persian Suzan = needle) are embroidered blankets and wall hangings in Central Asia. They are part of girls’ dowries, especially in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. They are either family heirlooms or made by the young woman for her own wedding. Embroidered with silk or wool on cotton or silk fabrics. The colors and motifs, even the embroidery techniques, vary from region to region. The motifs have a rich symbolism. Common motifs are poppies, pomegranates and bird wings.

Sometimes several women work on large suzani. The individual pieces are sewn together at the end. Traditionally, a small part is left unprocessed for the next generation. Therefore, Suzanis usually have a small area that is embroidered in a different color, for example. In Samarkand, when the bride is picked up from her parents’ house, a special wedding suzani (bolinpush) is held over her head. This is said to bring good luck and protect against the evil eye.