This classic hanging is embroidered all over in what is known as “Bukhara work”, with carnation and pomegranate flowers, entwined with meandering vines. Chillies and other smaller floral discs are interspersed in the overall pattern. The border has floral and solar discs enclosed within a trellis pattern, indicative of Islamic influence. This suzani was probably made to adorn the home of a rich merchant or aristocrat. Such pieces were usually commissioned from women embroiderers of the surrounding villages, such as Chafrikan and Gizhduban. The design would be drawn out on four to six narrow woven strips of hand-woven cotton (karbos) by the local designer (kalamkash), who was also a woman. Each strip was given to a different embroiderer in the family, and then the finished strips were stitched together. This accounts for the slight misalignment of design often seen in these large embroideries.

A distinctive feature of Bukharan suzanis is the masterful use of chain stitch (yurma) worked on the cotton with either a needle or a tambour hook. Basma, often referred to as Bukhara couching, was also widely used. Large surfaces of the cloth were typically covered, leaving only small areas of background free. The brilliant colours of the silk and the use of natural motifs created a field of magnificent, almost iridescent, flowering forms enhanced by the contrasting texture of the different types of stitch.

Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection.


Textiles and Costumes of India

Object Type



Cotton embroidered with silk thread






19th Century CE


Uzbekistan, probably Bukhara


227 x 169 cm