The ikat fabric in this coverlet is especially intricate. It features five different colors that are both resist-dyed and overdyed. Five woven strips sewn together make up the quilt top. The three center panels are stitched together with the pattern slightly offset, creating a serpentine shape, while the outer borders incorporate the boteh or paisley, a much-loved motif in this area of the world. The batting and red cotton back may have been added later in Russia, for trade in Central Asia.
This silk coverlet is the only piece from Uzbekistan in the collection of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. In many parts of the world, quilting traditions aren’t well documented or preserved. "Because they’re domestic, they often aren’t thought to be significant or memorable," says museum curator Carolyn Ducey. She notes that the Center is just beginning to learn about quilting in many areas of the world, including Central Asia, China, India, South Africa, and others. "Finds like this Uzbekistan quilt are an important step in helping us learn about many little-known quilting traditions."
The IQSCM exhibition South Asian Seams: Quilts from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh (May 15 to Nov. 7, 2010) will explore quilts from this area rich in textiles.
To learn more about the IQSCM’s extensive collection of more than 2,300 quilts and the history behind them, visit quiltstudy.org.
Photo courtesy of International Quilt Study Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2007.007.0001.