Suzanis & Embroidered Pillow Covers

Suzanis & Embroidered Pillow Covers
A suzani is an embroidered cotton or silk cloth made for a variety of domestic urban purposes such as bed covers, hangings and dividers. Suzani comes from the Persian word for "needle," and the word refers to embroidered hangings or fabric coverings, generally a meter and a half wide (4-5') but sometimes much more. The birthplace of suzanis is in what is now Uzbekistan, the area along the Silk Roads that interconnected the cultures of Europe, Turkey and China with the Muslim world. As children, nomad and village girls alike began putting together dowries to show the community their skill and industriousness, and throughout their lives their textiles were a principal means of expression and of control of their immediate environment, be it a house, a tent or a yurt. The textiles were also, if needed, an economic resource, for fine pieces could be sold, and city people often commissioned work from the village women.