Woman’s robe ("munisak")

Detail of ikat robe

Fabric used for the construction of this woman’s velvet robe was patterned with a technique called ikat. The term ikat is used for a textile-patterning technique in which parts of the warp and/or weft yarns are bound so that these areas resist dye penetration when immersed in a dye bath. The term is also used to refer to textiles that have been created with ikat technique.

Ikat textiles epitomize the highest levels of sophistication Central Asian textile makers reached in the nineteenth century. The first full-scale commercial production of ikat began in Bukhara in the late eighteenth century. From Bukhara, ikat manufacturing spread east to Samarkand and continued to thrive further east in the Fergana Valley into the early twentieth century. Bukhara was also the political center of power for the Manghit dynasty’s Bukharan Khanate from 1785 until the Soviet Union took over in 1920.