THE PAMIRS AND THE NEIGHBOURING DISTRICTS
Ruband. Embroidery of the Pamirs and the foothill districts is characterized by a remarkable diversity of forms. Here it is mainly made on clothes: on shirts and chemises (along the collar and the vertical cut), women's frontlets-sarban-daks, the bride's iace-coverlng-ruband, men's and women's belts-kamarbands and takbands.
Local embroidery has its special individual style with predominantly geometrical pattern.
Particularly noteworthy are women's embroidered face - coverings, rubands, used during the wedding ceremony. Their remarkable coloring and interesting ornaments have attracted attention of different scholars. Ruband is an ancient nuptial garment of Tajik women living in the mountains. In our days it is no longer used and can be found only in a few museums. It is a square or rectangular piece of cotton fabric (75x75 or 90x75 centimeters) covered by embroidered ornaments. In the upper part there is a small rectangular opening for the eyes with a net made from white silk threads. The two upper corners have long colored strings with tassels for fastening ruband on the head (usually it is worn over the head-dress). The edges are trimmed with a dark plaited braid. The cloth is embroidered with silk threads in a compact flat stitch, so that the smooth lustrous surface of the ornament makes its flatness still more evident. It may be noted that this technique is very economical, as threads are not used on the reverse side of the cloth. The scheme of ornament is determined by the rectangular form of ruband. It consists of a number of rectangles inscribed into one another. The one in the centre, having a more elongated form than the others, is divided into several horizontal strips, with the netted opening for the eyes in the upper strip. The ornamental motifs of rubands are not particularly diverse. They include stylized trees, triangles, rhombs, geo-metrically outlined flowers, birds, rosettes, etc.
The ornamentation of ruband is an interesting product of the popular art. N. A. Kislyakov appraised it as follows: "As far as we know, neither nomadic or semi nomadic peoples nor the settled population of Central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan which used the woman's face-covering - parandja or chadra, have possessed or possess now so richly ornamented wedding face-covering as ruband of the mountain Tajik. Modern Tajik embroidery adheres to the traditions of the late 19-th and the early 20-th centuries. The handicraftsmen continue to produce things which are still used in everyday life or connected with the living national customs. On the other hand, many types of embroidery, as, for instance, zardevor and ruband, have gradually gone out of use. The high artistic and aesthetic standards of popular embroidery make it possible to use it for decoration of the modern interior and ornamentation of clothes. The traditional methods and techniques of popular embroidery are successfully used by many factories working in the Republic.
The bulk of the material published in the album is based on the museum funds. A certain part of it was gathered by the author during expeditions in Tajikistan and the Tajik-populated districts of Uzbekistan. The drawings of embroideries were made from life, that is, directly in the interior where each embroidery has its definite place and is set off by the national decor of the room. In our opinion, this method has some advantages, because an embroidered piece in its natural environment enables you to grasp better the subtleties of this specific art, to feel its nuances and reproduce all this with greater accuracy. In gathering the "field" material attention was paid not only to big decorative works but also to very small pieces ornamenting clothes and things of domestic use. An analysis of the collected material, showed that small embroidery preserves the local features of the place where it was produced much better than embroideries of a bigger size. A considerable body of material was gathered in the main centres of the industry and their environs. Some other districts, however, are represented by a comparatively small amount of material, and there are some localities which have not yet been surveyed. The samples reproduced in the album give a rather comprehensive picture of the Tajik art of embroidery and illustrate its main peculiarities. A greater part of this material has not been published before. The author is greatly indebted to Doctor of Arts N. A. Nurdjanov, Master of Arts N. A. Belinskaya and Master of Arts N. N. Ershov whose advice and cooperation were most valuable in the preparation of this volume.