Silk Robe (chapan)
Central Asia, Uzbekistan, 19th Century
188 x 114 cm (74 x 45 in.)
Bruce & Olive Baganz
Central Asian ikat silks are some of the most striking textiles ever made. Imagine a crowd of people on a festive occasion sporting such garments in a great variety of colors and designs. Europeans traveling in Central Asia during the nineteenth century were astonished by the dazzling rainbow colors of the clothing people wore. The complex patterns of ikat are produced by a lengthy process of selectively dyeing the thread, which involves first tightly wrapping the bundles of thread to prevent the dye reaching the yarn, then unwrapping it, and then wrapping it again in a different place over several stages, one for each color.