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The uzbek suzanis of the late Soviet era were created by artisanal kolkhozes or individually, at home, to commemorate special events and holidays. Suzanis, Central Asian embroidered covers and wall hangings, for the most part, are decorated with oriental patterns and stylized floral motifs. Suzanis made by the kolkhozes break all the rules of Islamic art regarding the representation of living beings: they depict naturalistic images of human beings and animals, such as birds or squirrels, women embroidering, couples getting married. There are even full body portraits of women in ikat miniskirts from this period. These hand-embroidered objects with traditional motifs and interpretations can be charming, light and vivacious, and one can easily see that the women who embroidered them knew how to use their artisanal skills freely.
Many of the suzanis from the collectives were made to commemorate special events, such as International Worker’s Day on May 1st, Labour Day, International Women’s Day on the 8th of March, the 10th of October for the Bolshevik Revolution, or the 9th of May, when Nazi Germany surrendered to the Soviet troops at the end of World War II. There are also numerous suzanis with Lenin’s portrait. They are marvellous examples of politically inspired folk art. Less politically influenced but just as beautiful are the suzanis made for private purposes, that celebrate public holidays and festive occasions, like the wedding suzanis with portraits of the bride and groom. Unfortunately, this tradition no longer continues.
Needlework by hand, IV quarter 20th century Size: 1,80 m x 1,90 m
Embroidery with some bead work