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Uzbek people Wall hanging [pardah] late 19th-early 20th century Place made: Samarkand or Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Materials & Technique: textiles, silk, printed cotton lining; warp ikat
Dimensions: 242.0 h x 186.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2008
Accession No: NGA 2008.227

Pardah, meaning veil in Uzbek and Tajik, were used as ornamental hangings to adorn the walls of houses and wedding beds. The bold, abstract design on this pardahwas created through the resist dyeing technique known as ikat. Before the weaving takes place, bundles of warp threads are tightly bound into the desired patterns to resist the penetration of dye, a process that is repeated for each colour. A distinctive characteristic of ikat – known as abra, meaning cloud, in Central Asia – is the soft, slightly fuzzy edge surrounding the patterns.

The motifs found on pardahare a combination of geometric shapes and abstract natural forms. While these motifs have a very long history in the region, their original meanings have often been lost over time and they are chosen essentially for their aesthetic appeal.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label