Silk, cotton; plain weave, embroidery, tambour chain stitch
Average: 248.5 x 161.3 cm (97 13/16 x 63 1/2 in.)
Bequest of James Parmelee 1940.602
Embroideries known as suzani, after the Persian and Tajik word for needle (suzan), feature bold floral and foliate motifs enriched with several shades of red and crimson silk thread. This example suggests a lush garden enriched with single flowering plants alternating with a bird’s-eye view of blossoms in a foliate diamond trellis. Either a skilled family member or a professional drew the pattern in black ink (still visible) on five loosely joined cotton cloths; female family members disassembled them for stitching and reassembled them upon completion. Suzanis were made in many towns, generally with distinctive artistic and technical characteristics.
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