pillow covers

About BibiHanum.com

Bibi Hanum is a social responsible entrprise, which creates garments and accessories using traditional, hand-woven textiles. It is founded by  fashion and photo artist Muhayo Aliyeva in order to support women who lack economic assets and to develop new skills.


Uzbekistan has a very rich history and culture. Our primary objective is to preserve our country's  cultural heritage. We have been able to revive some of the old traditional robes with the assistance of Prince Clause Fund. The designs and patterns were recreated based on the old designs of the garments that were kept in the museums. We also work with other artists and artisans in promoting their products and exposing  their products to the world market. 


We create traditional and contemporary clothing using handwoven ikat fabrics. Ikat fabrics are made by master craftsmen in the Fergana Valley, whose families have employed these techniques for generations. This ancient process involves a complex method of patterning silk or cotton warp threads through resist dying before weaving. Our clothing combines ikat with silk, cotton and velvet and frequently incorporates traditional embroidery produced by women in Nurata, Bukhara and Samarkand. Tambour, chain stitch and satin stitch are the primary stitches employed. The clothing is designed and produced in Tashkent.

The folk art of traditional costume in Uzbekistan derives from a long and distinguished history.  Historically, the most luxurious garments were made for the Emir and his court, who also used robes and kaftans to pay tribute and taxes. Simpler garments without extensive embellishment were made by individuals for the marketplace. Tailors, designers and embroiderers were part of a guild system that was prevalent in Uzbekistan until the first quarter of the 20th century. The strict Soviet imposition of "modernization", however, wreaked havoc with all traditional arts and work in factories replaced handwork. Thus it is only since independence in 1991 that traditions were again thought to be a valuable part of our cultural heritage. In their style and ornamentation Uzbek clothing reflects centuries of cross-cultural trade along the Silk Road network that traversed Central Asia, particularly from Persia, India and China.

Today most women, especially those in more traditional regions have five to ten traditional garments made as part of their dowry. These are often produced by the bride (assisted by her mother and other female members of the family) in order to demonstrate her skill and aesthetic. Alternately they are made by seamstresses of the region specifically for this purpose.  These garments are considered items of status and are displayed with other dowry items such as mats for sleeping (korpecha), pillows, etc. both before and after the wedding. Uzbek women also wear traditional clothing for festive occasions.


Samples of traditional clothing  


41915-large.jpg Woman's robe with large red circle design on white background
Bukhara, Uzbekistan
1850 - 1875
Silk and cotton, lined with printed cotton
From the Rau collection
© The Rau Collection
Woman's robe
Central Asia
1800 - 1900
Silk and cotton
From the Rau collection
© The Rau Collection

Who is Bibi Hanum?

Bibi Hanum, said to be the favorite wife of Amir Temur (Tamerlane the Central Asian conqueror), was very wise and extremely beautiful. She wanted to please Amir Temur with a gift upon his return from a victorious campaign, and decided to build a mosque in his honor. The architect, however, fell in love with Bibi Hanum, but realized he would never be able to see her again once the construction was complete, and delayed as long as he could. The queen was furious, as Temur was fast approaching, and insisted that the mosque be finished immediately. The architect delivered an ultimatum: the queen's kiss in exchange for completing the construction. Bibi Hanum had to agree. The kiss was so passionate, however, that it left an indelible mark on the queen’s cheek, but the mosque was ready in a few days as promised. When Amir Temur returned, he was very pleased, but when he noticed the mark on Bibi Hanum's cheek, he commanded the capture of the architect. Forewarned, the architect hid from the pursuers atop the minaret of the newly constructed mosque and they caught only his pupil, who declared, "my teacher has sprouted wings and flown to Mashhad". 

Bibi Khanum Mosque

The Bibi Hanum Mosque was built in 1399-1404 and is located in Samarkand.