Uzbek Silk Ikat Dress

Uzbek Silk Ikat Dress


H 124 x W 176 cm


Antique Uzbek silk ikat dress from Bokhara dating to the late 19th century. The warp-faced ikat weave has a silk warp and a cotton weft and was a very costly and time-consuming material to make. This is why this garment marked the wearer out as a person of high social standing and wealth.

The dress is a real eye-catcher mainly for two reasons: the dramatic design of pink roundels (pomegranates?) on a white background with a secondary comb design, and the yellow, elegantly curved shapes on purple, together with the wide variety of different colours ( two shades of pink, white, yellow, purple, green and blue) – all contribute to the powerful visual effect of this garment.

The dress is tailored to make maximum use of this precious material: two panels of about two and a half metres length each and in a loom width of 44 cm form the main body of the dress, with a vertical opening at the front. The sleeves, roughly 32 cm in width,  are directly attached to these panels and are made from two straight pieces of the same ikat material, again in a loom width of 44 cm, with the selvedges used on the edges.  This means that the length of the ikat panel used in the production of this dress is approximately 6.24 metres, which is in keeping with Sumru Belger Krody’s description of the construction of these dresses – she talks of six to seven metre-long panels. (see: Sumru Belger Krody, Colors of the Oasis. Central Asian Ikats. The Textile Museum, Washington, 2010,  pp. 59 – 60). Two very small gussets are attached under the arms for ease of movement. A small off-cut is used for the collar. The dress is not lined, as was the custom for these garments.

The dress is in excellent condition