Featured Objects

Main carpet (halı)

The Turkmen tradition of women weaving everyday items, such as this carpet, for their families nearly collapsed during the Soviet era, as these nomadic peoples were forced to settle and engage in cotton farming.

Woman’s robe ("munisak")

Ikat textiles, like this woman’s velvet robe, epitomize the highest levels of sophistication Central Asian textile makers reached in the nineteenth century.


The term suzani derives from the Persian/Farsi word for needle, suzan, and refers to the large embroidered textiles that a young girl and her family members made for her dowry in Central Asian oasis towns.

Man’s robe (chapan or khalat)

In nineteenth-century Central Asia, people wore many layers of clothing not only to protect themselves from the elements, but also to show off their wealth and thus their importance in society.

Old Patterns, New Order: Socialist Realism in Central Asia

Under Soviet political rule, artists across Central Asia created images that both embraced modernity and idealized the past. This exhibition examined the socialist realist art movement in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and others areas of Central Asia, pairing twentieth-century paintings with examples of the traditional textiles they depict. Organized in partnership with GW's Central Asia Program.