EMBROIDERY OF THE MOUNTAIN DISTRICTS.
Dresses. This embroidery has its own characteristic features which make it different from the works produced on the plains. Everyone who comes in the mountain parts of Tajikistan can feel a convivial atmosphere reigning in the streets of the local kishlaks and towns. Colorful, brightly ornamented clothes are worn by the women, children and, partly, by men. as if the whole fantastic world of embroidery, which on the plains embellishes the Tajik homes, here had gone out into the street. The national dresses of women, bright and diverse, are embroidered with surprising imagination. They are long, of a simple loose cut, with broad sleeves covering the whole length of the hand. In South-West Darvaz you also find narrow-sleeved dresses, closely fitting in the waist and flared in the skirt. There are several schemes of dress ornament, each notable for good proportions and elegance. On the holiday dresses they embroider the whole width of the front, from the shoulders down to the tail, sometimes even a part of the back. On everyday dresses embroidery in two broad strips stretches vertically from the shoulders to the skirt. In some cases it is made round the collar descending to the waist in the form of a lancet-arch. In other cases embroidered patterns of various kinds run across the skirt and the sleeves in a strip 20 to 50 cm wide. The broad-cut sleeves are always adorned by embroidery harmonized with the other embroidered parts of the dress. There are several other compositional variants, some of them of very old origin.
As a rule, dresses are made from yellow, red, claret-colored satinette or from white and cream karbos. A popular technique is basma, a type of stitch used in many different embroideries throughout Central Asia. The other techniques in use are the ordinary flat stitch and, more rarely, the cross-stitch. Embroidery is usually made with silk threads (ho-me-dyed and home-spun), though some-times they use cotton threads which, naturally, change the quality and appearance of the work.
The elements of dress embroidery have very much in common with the ornamentation of suzanehs, borpushes and ruidjoes. They also include the basic straight lines, ova, serving as a sort of border for the ornament, and wavy lines, koongra. Greater space than in embroideries of the plain districts is given to various geometrical figures: squares, rhombs, triangles, circles, etc. They usually alternate with floral motifs, familiar to us by embroideries made on the plains: various rossettes, winding stalks, palmettes, almond, capsicum, bushes and twigs.
The favorite motif of dress embroidery are rosettes. Varied in structure and size, they are usually arranged in two vertical rows stretching symmetrically on both sides of the middle line, four or five rosettes in each row. Naturally, every dress has its own variant of their choice and disposition. Another popular motif of the mountain-country embroidery is islimi, a combination of plant sprouts. This motif can be found in all kinds of Tajik ornamental work. Islimi may include various sorts of plants, zoomorphic ornaments and figures imitating different other objects. Their presence can change the whole character of the design, making it either more dynamic, or static, or fluid.