Uzbek Silk Velvet Ikat Robe

Uzbek Silk Velvet Ikat Robe


123 cm neck to hem


This Uzbek silk velvet ikat robe dates to the second half of the 19th century.

Silk ikat robes were treasured garments only the wealthy and powerful could afford (there are a number of these coats on this website, see, for instance,, and, and the most coveted of them all were those made of silk velvet, also called bachmal, or bakhmal. These robes were reserved for the highest strata of the social organization.

The piece in hand has the flamboyance of design and colour characteristic of Uzbek ikats, with seven different colours and a bold pattern of trees, botehs and amulets. The silk velvet is rubbed in several places, particularly along the front, where the orange coloured foundation is showing through. This does not, however, corrupt the integrity of the design.

Given the fact that several, sometimes fairly small, patches of material, albeit all from the same length of silk velvet, make up the cut of this robe, it does not seem unreasonable to suspect that the robe was, at some point in its history, re-purposed. It was possibly re-modelled from a larger robe for a man, which might have been too damaged to still be worn by its original owner. The size of this robe, with a total length of 123 cm from neck to hem and a width of 142 cm from cuff to cuff, is certainly right for a woman’s robe, or munisak. The braiding along the edges, which is somewhat coarser than you would expect from a robe made of such superb quality silk velvet, would support this working theory, as does the Russian printed cotton lining which we would date to maybe 20 years later than the velvet.

All in all, this is a hard to find textile and a beautiful voice from the 19th century.