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Zarduzlik - the art of gold embroidery

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Zarduzlik is one of the oldest forms of hand embroidery with gold threads. The word "zarduzlik" was formed from the Persian language and literally means "sewing with gold" or "gold sewing".


The art of gold embroidery is rooted in the distant past, when Babylon was an important economic and cultural center in southern Mesopotamia. It is believed that it was there that the art of golden threads was born. It also flourished in Byzantium. Thanks to openness and regular cultural exchange with Byzantium, the art of embroidery spread throughout Central Asia. The fame of luxurious items covered with gold threads reached Ancient Russia.
Gold seamstresses of Bukhara

There were unique zardu schools on the territory of Uzbekistan. They were opened in Bukhara, Samarkand, Fergana and other cities. But zarduzlik reached its peak in the middle of the 19th century in Bukhara. At that time, there were about 350 gold seamstresses in the emirate. Among the Bukhara masters there is a version that the patron and saint Hazrat Yusuf was the first teacher and master of zarduzlik.

In Bukhara, there was a special organization that controlled the work of the workshops. As a rule, its head was the most respected and experienced master of this art. In addition, he was the official representative of the organization between the emir's palace and the administration. Gold-embroidered products became an integral part of the decor of the interior and outfits of the Bukhara Khan and his entourage.
Uzbek suits with gold embroidery

Gowns, turbans, skullcaps, shalvars for men were decorated with gold threads. For women, these were dresses, robes, scarves, hats and headbands, and a variety of shoes. A special sign of luxury and prosperity was the decorated blankets of horses, which were covered not only with gold embroidery, but also interspersed with precious stones and gems.

Unlike silk embroidery, which was done exclusively by women, only men were gold embroiderers. One of the most famous masters of gold embroidery is Numon Aminov. He was born in Bukhara in 1908 and worked all his life in the workshop of the Bukhara Emirate.

The art of zarduzlik requires a lot of experience and skill. There are special tools and technologies for this. To create a composition of patterns, a drawing is first prepared through a stencil, then it is cut out and attached to the prepared stretched fabric and covered with precious threads on top. Each product uses a special embroidery stitch, more than thirty types of such stitches are known. It can be "zaminduzi" - continuous sewing, "gulduzi" - embroidery on a cut pattern on a white background.
the art of gold sewing

Nowadays, not only men, but also women are engaged in gold embroidery, and this kind of art is widespread far beyond the borders of Bukhara. Today, there are magnificent zarduzlik products on free sale - wall panels, souvenirs, clothing items, bags, luxurious bedspreads and much more.

Pictured is the Sovga gold sewing center in Bukhara.

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