Ikat is a dying technique used to pattern textiles that employs resist dyeing on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric. There are approximately 32 steps in the production of ikat fabric from processing the silk from cocoons, drawing the patterns, dying the threads and weaving it on the loom. Silk textiles were produced in warp-faced plain weave (shoyi) and in satin weave using four needles. Adras fabrics, bahhmal velvets and satin atlas weaves were decorated with patterns known as abr, meaning cloud in Persian.
Uzbekistan has a long history of producing high quality textiles. Its history goes back to the Silk Road. Traditionally ikat weaving started in Bukhara region. The legendary sufi and saint of that time Naqshbandi was associated with this beautiful ancient craft. He was successfully engaged in ikat weaving when he was young. Ikat had a rich political and cultural life in Central Asia. It was revered by khans and wealthy people. It was used in ritual exchanges. The type of fabric worn and the colors chosen conveyed specific message about the social rank, gender, age, occupation, tribal affiliation, or geographic origin of the wearer. Many years later, the center of ikat weaving switched to Ferghana Valley with master artisans coming from Bukhara and teaching the craft to the next generation of artisans.
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