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Uzbek people Bedding decoration [segusha or seye gosha] 1940–60 Description: 'v'-shaped with hooked lozenge forms
Place made: north Afghanistan, Afghanistan
Materials & Technique: textiles, silk, cotton, printed cotton lining; cross stitch embroidery, tablet or needle weaving, fringing
Dimensions: 83.0 h x 83.5 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1985
Accession No: NGA 85.374

The Uzbek people are one of the various tribal groups inhabiting the deserts of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Historically they were renowned as horsemen, fighters and brigands. Uzbek women embroidered decorative and functional bags and hangings which symbolised the lifestyle of a nomadic people. Embroidered in silk, these V-shaped objects adorned stacks of bedding when not in use.

Many embroideries would be included in the dowry of an Uzbek bride from a well-to-do family. These were made during the period of the bride's seclusion, just prior to her marriage. The brightly coloured embroideries incorporate auspicious forms that traditionally acted as charms against harm. The cross-stitch designs on these decorations are typical: one shows geometric lozenges, the other stylised eagles.

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