Decorating with Suzanis

For centuries, the art of Suzani has been a defining characteristic of central Asian culture. The traditional textile is recognizable for its decorative needlework and bold color.

A silk Suzani, about 7x5ft

Historically, young girls and their female family members prepared these embroidered masterpieces together.  The needlework began at the daughter’s birth and continued until her wedding, where the fabrics were a central part of her dowry. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Suzani has been making a comeback as people around the world become aware of the beautiful fabrics.

I first encountered Suzani in my mom’s suitcase, following her return from a trip to Uzbekistan. I was instantly in love. Sadly, her two Suzani tapestries ended up in a forlorn storage box, until I re-discovered them a year ago and made off with them. Now they brighten my room with that unique Suzani flare.

I think this Suzani is cotton, it’s about 7x7ft

Adding a Suzani can brighten up any dull room and decorators have started to incorporate them into their designs. I typically see the large tapestries used as bedspreads, alternative headboards and wall art. I’ve also seen some instances of people re-covering furniture and pillows with Suzani fabric. There are some great examples at If you feel like your room needs something more to liven it up, I highly recommend you try adding a Suzani. They are beautiful and unique. I’m caught between wishing more people know about them and wanting to keep them a secret. Too late now, I suppose!

As for my own Suzani, I’ll probably have to give them back to mom. But I can always hope that she will pass them on to me like the mothers of old.



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