, Woman's ceremonial robe [munisak] Enlarge 1 /1
Uzbek people Woman's ceremonial robe [munisak] 1880-1910 Place made: Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Materials & Technique: textiles, silk, cotton, natural dyes, printed cotton lining; warp ikat, quilting, tablet weaving
Dimensions: collar to hem 134.2 h cm cuff to cuff 173.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1985
Accession No: NGA 85.291

Munisakwere worn by Uzbek and Tajik women primarily in the urban centres of Uzbekistan. Traditionally the munisakwas a dowry item donned during important ritual and social events in a woman’s life, the first of which was her wedding. The munisakwas also draped over a woman’s bier at her funeral. In the 20th century the munisakceased to have a place in the dowry but continued to be used at the funerals of women whose dowries had included them.

This munisakcombines a variety of popular motifs. Heart-shaped forms appear within the double-headed eagle motifs, while paisley forms (buta) have been placed between stylised spiralling rams’ horns. There are numerous triangular shapes representing the tamar, a protective and decorative talisman that is a reoccurring motif in Central Asian art.

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