Guide to Suzani Rugs & Carpets

We see a wide range of embriored piecework accross the Moslem world. In Central Asia we use the term Suzani but we see very similar work in Ottoman Textiles, Greek Textiles, Epirus Textiles, Resht Textiles, Moroccan Embroidery, Algerian embroidery, and even Banya Luka Applique. Put simply Suzani is embroidery on cloth in one piece or more often in several then stitched together.

The name Suzani comes from the Persian word for needle. We can translate it as needlework for our usage. Often we think of Suzani as large decorated covers such as the one from Tony Kitz above. this is not absolute since there is splendid examples of small pieces such as the 2 1/2 foot square Wertime Nurata Suzani Bukcha.

Wertime Nurata Suzani Bukcha

The use of negative space in this rare Central Asian embroidered boqcheh is bold and powerful. The visual impact of this work of art far exceeds its modest dimensions. This is a piece for a serious collector or for anyone looking to decorate a home or office with something out of the ordinary.

Chain, satin and buttonhole stitches are the primary stitches used. There is also extensive use of couching. Still I was curious as to how couching differs from stitching. The key is that couching is to stitch around a second thread to attach the secondary thread to the fabric as a raised line. It is often used for outlining.

Examples of Suzani Rugs:

Khodjent Suzani Rug, 19th Century

Khodjent Suzani Rug, 19th Century

Country of Origin: Tadjikistan

Date of Origin: 19th century, last quarter (1875 - 1899)

Use: Wall hanging

Region: Central Asia - Khodjent is a majority Uzbek province of Tadjikistan

Size: 292.1cm(H) x 210.8cm(W) / 9'7"(H) x 6'11"(W)

Other Colors: Green olive, dark indigo, crimson, light crimson, and red-brown

Materials: Silk and cotton

Structure / Technique: homespun cotton (karboz), six panels, filling stitches - basma and ilmoq; the foundation fabric is so completely filled with stitches that it cannot be seen at all; attached cotton outer field

Condition: Excellent

Full Description: An exceptionally large Suzani which has a dramatic effect.

Khodjent Suzani rug pattern

Khodjent Suzani rug design



Nurata Suzani Rug, c.1800

Nurata Suzani Rug, c.1800

Nurata is a town in Central Uzbekistan. It is at the point where the Nurata range tapers out and meets the desert. The Nurata range is the southern ridge that makes the Ferghana valley. There is a large spring noted for it's miraculous powers and its fishes.

Nurata Suzani are sometimes compared to Mughal designs.


Suzani Embroidery, Mid-19th Century

Suzani Embroidery, Mid-19th Century

Country of Origin: Uzbekistan

Date of Origin: Mid-19th century

Size: 6ft. 7in. by 5ft. 9in. (2.01m. by 1.75m.)

Description: Has an unusual Mughal-inspired lattice design.

Condition: Minor discoloration, stains, minor losses, minor restitching, later fabric backing


Suzani Embroidery, Third Quarter 19th Century

Suzani Embroidery, Third Quarter 19th Century

Country of Origin: Uzbekistan

Date of Origin: Third quarter, 19th century

Size: 7ft. 5 in. by 6ft. (2.26 m. by 1.83 m.)

Condition: Minor discolorations to linen ground

Suzani embroidery carpet


Large Medallion Embroidery Bokhara, c.1800

Large Medallion Embroidery Bokhara, c.1800

Country of Origin: Uzbekistan

Date of Origin: Mid-19th century

Use: Cover/wall hanging

Size: 9ft. 3in. by 6ft. 3in. (2.82m. by 1.90m.)

Condition: Minor losses to embroidery, hole to ground, stains.

Other Notes: Large medallion Suzani rugs such as this one have an unusually bold and powerful design among the generally more delicate works of Central Asian embroidery. The prominent medallion is supported by a multitude of decorations executed in a wide variety of colors, creating a brazen needlework tour de force.


Eberhart Herrmann Bokhara Suzani, First Half 19th Century

Eberhart Herrmann Bokhara Suzani, First Half 19th Century

Country of Origin: Uzbekistan

Date of Origin: Around 1800

Use: cover/wall hanging

Size: 231cm. x 170cm.

Notes and Condition: Backed with linen; in very good condition.


Bukhara Silk Suzani Embroidery, c.1870

Bukhara Silk Suzani Embroidery, c.1870

Country of Origin: Uzbekistan

Date of Origin: Mid-19th century

Use: cover/wall hanging

Size: 7ft. 9in. by 4ft. 11in. (2.36m. by 1.50m.)

Description: Made circa 1870 on a natural linen ground; some oxidized charcoals; linen backed.


Buxoro Suzani, First Half 19th Century

Buxoro Suzani, First Half 19th Century

Country of Origin: Uzbekistan

Date of Origin: Mid-19th century

Use: Cover/wall hanging

Size: 8ft. 8in. by 5ft. 4in. (265cm. by 163cm.)

Description: The hexagonal border which frames the central rosettes in this susani is reminiscent of the composition used in 'large-medallion' susani. The organic drawing of the various floral and foliate elements and the incredible array of colors make this particular example a completely individual and outstanding piece. The inclusion of the human figure in susani design is rare, and this example has eight figures decorating one of the border rosettes.


Lakai Silk Suzani Embroidery, Mid-19th Century

Lakai Silk Suzani Embroidery, Mid-19th Century

Country of Origin: Uzbekistan

Date of Origin: Mid-19th century

Use: Cover/wall hanging

Size: 6 ft. 4 in. by 4 ft. 6 in. (1.93m. by 1.37m.)

Condition: Stains, losses to edges

Description: Embroideries from the Lakai tribe of Shakhrisyabz feature many unusual characteristics including usage of the distinctive ilmok stitch and often employ a silk foundation, as in the current lot. This design is known as "The Vegetable Garden," displaying a balanced "four and one" field arrangement with a central poppy flanked by boteh-like gourds, within a border of boteh-like maize cobs alternating with maize stems and nodding ears of rice.

Lakai silk Suzani embroidery close-up


Wertime Lakai Uzbek Large Embroidered Square, 19th Century

Wertime Lakai Uzbek Large Embroidered Square, 19th Century

Country of Origin: Uzbekistan

Date of Origin: Late 19th century (1867 - 1899)

Use: cover

Size: 86.4cm x 86.4cm / 2'10" x 2'10"

Structure / Technique: Silk embroidery on wollen broad cloth, silk ikat back

Condition: Very good

Description: Nine large, very finely embroidered motifs pattern a reddish orange wool broad cloth ground to make a bold work of textile art.


Lakai Silk Suzani Embroidery, Mid-19th Century

Lakai Silk Suzani Embroidery, Mid-19th Century

Country of Origin: Uzbekistan

Date of Origin: Mid-19th century

Size: 5 ft. 1 in. by 3 ft. 8 in. (1.55 m. by 1.12 m.)


Samarkand Suzani, c.1900

Samarkand Suzani, c.1900

Country of Origin: Uzbekistan

Date of Origin: Late 19th century

Use: cover/wall cover

Size: 2.41m x 1.50m (7ft 11in x 4ft 11in)


Suzani Pskent Silk Embroidery, Third Quarter 19th Century

Suzani Pskent Silk Embroidery, Third Quarter 19th Century

Country of Origin: Uzbekistan

Date of Origin: Mid-19th century

Use: cover/wall hanging

Size: 9 ft. 7 in. by 7 ft. 7 in. (2.92 m. by 2.31 m.)

Notes: Some red wool detailing, embroidered mainly in basma stitch on six panels, minor re-embroidery and losses to embroidery, linen backed.

Description: The town of Pskent lies southeast of Tashkent in the Kokand Emirate. Pskent suzanis share many features with those of Tashkent but are characterized by their totally embroidered cotton grounds, heavy dark golden-brown outlining, and the use of a distinctive yellow ochre color.

As with early Tashkent pieces, madder-dyed red wool is used to accentuate certain elements whereas all other reds are woven in cochineal-dyed silk, giving an added visual subtlety and tactile sophistication to a bold and often mesmerizing design.

Suzani Pskent Silk Embroidery close-up


Rare and Early Ura Tube Suzani

Rare and Early Ura Tube Suzani

Country of Origin: Uzbekistan

Date of Origin: 1800 - 1850

Use: Cover/wall hanging

Size: 213.4cm(H) x 182.9cm(W) / 7'0(H) x 6'0(W)

Region: Central Asia

Structure / Technique: Embroidered silk on fine beige linen

Condition: Overall the condition is good, with no losses of embroidered design. There are some breaks in the ground and along the edges. The piece has been backed.

Description: This is a very early example dating to the mid-19th century, possibly earlier. The architecture of the square-format piece is governed by an ornamental diagonal lattice that offers a multitude of floral bouquets, blossoms and sprays. The drawing is spirited and each diverse element shows exceptional vitality and animation.

Rare and Early Ura Tube Suzani corner

Rare and Early Ura Tube Suzani pattern



Gandahara Hazara Suzani

Gandahara Hazara Suzani

Old Silk Embroidered Suzani, Gandahar, Afghanistan. Early to mid 20th Century.

Size: 4 foot 5 inch 6 foot by 6 inch.

Structure: silk, cotton, plain weave, with silk embroidery.

Further Notes: Excellent condition.

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