The tree of life

Maria & Manina Baumann

The word suzani means “embroidery” in ancient Persian, and has become the name for the exquisitely conceived works of art that were dowry pieces for centuries.

They were hand embroidered by young girls in anticipation of their wedding day, until the early 26th Century in Central Asia. The antiquity of this art form dates back to the origins of the silk route itself.

The examples here, from the Cape Town Suzani Gallery of Bukhara to Cape Town Suzani Textiles, are modern interpretations of the once “Emirate of Bukhara”, and the heart of craft in Central Asia, now modern day Uzbekistan.

Suzanis were believed to be imbued with powerful magical energy for protection and good fortune, and ensured a happy life for a newly married couple.

Suzanis are Manina Baumann’s passion and she has been importing and collecting them to sell locally since 2012.

Maria Baumann draws inspiration from the playful organic design quality of the suzani tradition. Her works make use of the same joyful abundance of colour and the ‘tree of life’ subject matter, though she populates her trees with typically South African fauna and flora.

This is Manina and Maria’s third mother-and-daughter exhibition together.

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