Central Asia is justifiably famous for its textiles, which include rugs and tribal trappings, elaborate embroideries and colorful ikats. Textile production spans the extremes of rich, urban court centers to the open, nomadic steppes, and bridges Europe and China. Cultural influences have migrated along the trade routes across this region for millennia. We have lived on the edge of this region, and been exposed to and able to collect a sampling of its textile wealth. Here we offer a small portion of our collection.
From the Swat Valley in western Pakistan, this heavily embroidered woman’s tunic has been lovingly repaired and pieced with old bits of embroidery and handspun cloth. The front is covered with silk motifs which are similar to rug designs in the region, of vibrant magenta silk with accents in yellow. The back is not intended to show and has been repaired with a cloth dotted with previous embroidered designs. Not as elaborate as newer versions we’ve seen, this tunic is probably much older, as the handspun cotton would suggest: some is black cotton, and some is very dark indigo. Condition is good with original repairs.
Size: 61 in. cuff to cuff x 20 in. across chest x 39 in. shoulder to hem
Not often found, this type of eating cloth, or ‘dastarkhan’, is from northwest Afghanistan. It would have been used on the floor as a cloth on which to put food and to sit around, probably for ceremonies. Painstakingly embroidered in wool on a plainweave natural wool background, it is quite elaborate in pattern and color. Unlike some we’ve seen this one is completely covered in embroidery, with no background showing except on the ends. It is over 30 years old and was brought by Hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia to help finance their journey. Condition is excellent. Documentation of these uncommon textiles can be found in R.D. Parson’s Oriental Rugs; Vol.3; The Carpets of Afghanistan; p.52-3..
Size: 72.5″ x 24″
Probably from the Balouch tribe, this attractive salt bag is woven in both pile and flat weave. The colors could be natural and include various reds, orange, brown and blue/black. Condition is very good, tho some small spots of moth damage are in the pile, but barely noticeable; priced accordingly.
Size: 19 in. x 13.5 in.
Made of the famous Uzbek silk ikat, this ‘chapan’ has a nicely subdued, but rich coloration and is very modern in its simplified pattern. It is not new, but is not antique- we think maybe 30+ years old. Lined in a lightweight printed cotton, and sized generously, it would be easy for most to wear on casual, or more elegant occasions. Or it could be displayed on a wall or as a colorful throw. Condition is very good.
Size: 49″h x 56″ across the arms