This beautiful Suzani Hand-stitched Embroidered Bed Cover or Wall Hanging from Tajikistan features a large center floral medallion with a "Anar" orpomegranate motif of fruit and twining stems and leaveson an ivory color fabric. The workmanship is impeccable with the silk Suzani embroidery threads using the traditional basma stitch, sometimes called Bukhara couching. It is a large piece measuring 76" x 58" made with smaller pieces stitched together. For large suzanis, several of the fabric pieces are first sewn loosely together and the pattern is drawn on them; then they are taken apart so that two or more family members or friends can work on the embroidery simultaneously. Later when the panels are rejoined, the pattern parts may not fit perfectly, although this particular example has very closely fitting pieces. It's the old traditional approach to this hand-crafted art form.Women in a village near Nurata making a new Suzani. "Flowering Gardens of the Future," HALI: 137, November-December 2004, p. 155.With the basma stitch, long strands are first laid across the fabric surface. Then these are secured with short couching stitches that are normally aligned diagonally. This stitch is especially effective for covering sizeable areas.The appearance can vary in character: some of the stitching is smooth, fine,regular and flat; on other examples, the stitched areas assume an almost three-dimensional character and texture, which shows off the lustrous silks to their full advantage. In any case, this technique makes large, generous, dramatic motifs possible. Sensitive artisans match the scale of the stitching perfectly to the designs in their luxurious pieces."Suzani" means needlework, but to most collectors, the word has a more specific meaning: "suzani" is synonymous with the glorious embroideries of Uzbekistan, in Central Asia. In recent years, we've witnessed a remarkable revival of this old traditional art form.In the nineteenth century, Uzbek women produced fabulous embroidered hangings, bed covers, wrapping cloths, table covers, and prayer mats for their households and their daughters' dowries. As the Soviet Era ended and Westerners became more familiar with the finest old Uzbek pieces, prices for antique examples escalated wildly. A revival of the old forms and techniques was a natural development as new markets opened. Now gorgeous contemporary embroideries decorate not only Uzbek homes, but also grace European and American households, while talented and industrious Uzbek women have a welcome new source of family income. Fortunately, we now have access to beautiful contemporary textiles that are a natural outgrowth of the old traditions--at very reasonable prices.