Detail of a suzani showing embroidery stitches.
Photo: Ann Svenson Perlman.
Hanging Suzani, Bukhara region, Uzbekistan, ca. 1900.
Photo: Ann Svenson Perlman, Doris Duke Foundation.
Doris Duke photographed by Cecil Beaton,
Sotheby's Picture Library, London.
While honeymooning in 1935, the adventurous globe-trekking heiress, Doris Duke. purchased nine suzanis in India. For the rest of her life she collected decorative pieces that appealed to her -- not necessarily what was prestigious -- and today she is viewed as a woman whose taste was ahead of her time. In fact, many of the Eastern art objects she loved are now highly valued.
If you enjoy decorative arts history, or just want to learn more about suzanis, the website for Shangri La -- the Hawaiian house Duke built and refined over many years -- is excellent. The site is easy to navigate and loaded with images, information and good links.
An interesting commercial site is London-based Suzani Interior.
Designer Schuyler Samperton's suzani bed cover, photographed by Grey Crawford for Elle Decor, November 2003.