Sofreh

Eating cloth "Sofreh". Wool, camel wool and natural dyes. Uzbek people. North Afghanistan. Centra Asia. Circa 1900. Cm. 86 x 285 (2'10" x 9'4") These flat weave were common in the weaving tradition of many Central Asian ethnic groups. In Persian region they are known as "Sofreh" while in more Northern regions (Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan) they are commonly known as "Desterkhaan" Both words mean "eating mat" and since most collectors and dealers recognize these weaving as the former word, ew shall refer to this piece in our description as "sofreh". Sofrehs were eating mats which would be stretched out and laid on the floor. Food dishes would be positioned on it and the family would sit around it. In the culture of many Central Asian groups, the Sofreh was the most important weaving after the payer mat. Partticularly in the rural areas, food was always considered near sacred and after every meal the family would pray as thanks. Dining together was an important time in family's daily life and the Sofreh was seen as a significant part of those moments. It acted as the base of an important part of the lives of these people which meant it was woven with great passion and were made to be elegant. Its purpose required it to be flexible and easily foldable and for this reason they are one of the finest weavings that Central Asian people produced. This is an Uzbek saple of a Sofreh. While there is a general acceptance that the Turkoman were the best weavers of Central asia, one must not ignore the fantastic traditions of the Uzbeks, especially of those from the towns in Northern regions of Afghanistan close to the Uzbekistan borders. This beautiful Sofreh clearly reflects the beauty and quality of the Uzbek weaving tradition. Typical of the Uzbek weaving it is made in panels. Three panels are woven and then stitched together to make a whole piece. It is flat woven and completely made of wool (including the warp and the weft). The central section in made of camel wool, which is very rear and positively unusual. Camel wool has always been relatively more expensive and the fact that it has been applied in this piece makes it a rare type. It has an exceptional quality, very thin and flexible yet astonishingly durable and tough. The design follows the quintessential Uzbek style.The two side panels are quite colourful with the design of wider stripes in various colour combinations separated by finer stripes all of which runs along the lenght of the piece. The central panel has three thinner striped lines in black and white, yellow and black and in red and black, which create a lovely contrast to the plain colour of the camel wool. Each panel is finished with tassels on each edge maintaining the continuity. The most important element of this Sofreh is the colours. price on request.

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