dowry cloth; susani; bridal bed cover

Cotton backed SUSANI (literally ‘stitched’) comprised of 3 or 5 panels, with silk embroidery on a yellow ground. The main motif is a pointed arch. The archway itself is double bordered: the outer border is blue and red with white (bird) motifs; the inner border is wave-like joined arches in pale blue and red. On the surround of the archway there are stylized floral motifs in dense, machine embroidery in dark green with a purple outline and heavy petals in pale blue, purple, red, green and white. The outermost border is of tendrils in pale and dark blue, between two straight lines of red embroidery and an edging strip. The backing is maroon cotton with flowers in pink and white, and leaf sprigs in a green outline. The surface has two signatures in Cyrillic script in green at the top right and top left corners. Such items would often be made as part of a dowry. This is intended for use as a bedcloth on the wedding night, with the archway symbolizing the virginity of the bride.

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