‘Suzani’ tribal textile challenge
While visiting Uzbekistan, we challenge you to deviate from the usual tourist route and join a suzani embroidery master class in Gus village…
The talented women of the Khamdamovs family will share their knowledge with you and help you to create your own piece of art.
Traditionally Uzbek girls started preparing their dowry in their childhood. An important part of the dowry was suzani – an embroidered and decorative tribal textile. The word comes from the Persian “suzan” which means needle.
A young girl would begin to embroider her suzani from the age of about 10 to 12 and had to complete all the embroidery, leaving just a small area unembroidered. The unfinished suzani pattern, symbolising the continuity of generations, represents the bride’s wish to have a daughter who will continue her mother’s work.
Uzbek suzani is often said to be the national art form, having its own style that has been developed over the centuries.
Work on one suzani can take up to two years, making every piece precious.
All the materials used are natural which gives a beautiful depth to the colours and makes every piece unique.
Today, these embroidered textiles are used to make wall carpets, pillowcases, bedspreads, tablecloths, tapestries, handbags and clothes. And can be found in every city across Uzbekistan. However the best place to buy suzani is at a bazaar in the small town of Urgut, located 40km from Samarkand. Here, you can find suzanis from all over the country, which is why this small town is known as the ‘Capital of Suzani’. Even the most experienced buyers come here for the bargains.
However, the centre of suzani is not Urgut itself, but the nearby village of Gus. Among the many masters of suzani in the village, the most famous is the Khamdamovs family. Master Mavluda learnt the art of embroidery from her mother and now passes her skill onto the younger women of the family.
And now you have the chance to also learn this exquisite art form!