Click image to enlarge.    
Click image to enlarge.    

Uzbekistan, c.1880s

Piece of block-printed cotton 26.5” x 22”

Both selvedges intact

Produced in Russia for export to Central Asia

Fair-good used condition – scattered small holes; 4.5” tear on bottom right corner – otherwise colors still strong with no fading or bleeding


While Russia and Great Britain were competing in the Great Game over who would control Central Asia, their respective textile manufacturers were also competing for market share in the great bazaars of Bukhara. Ultimately, it was the Russians who won.

However at the time this fabric was produced, Russian textile mills were still lagging behind their British counterparts in both up-to-date machinery and volume production. The factory that printed this cloth was still using a type of block-printing, perhaps a mechanized process like the perrotine press, while the mills of Manchester were equipped with the latest roller-printing machines.

A solid green was difficult to print by wooden blocks, so green was achieved by overprinting blue with yellow, as in this example. Printed paisleys like this were often used to line ikat robes, or as a less expensive alternative, to make the robe itself from.


If you are interested in this piece of Russian trade cloth, please contact Susan Meller.



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