Embroidered Lakai Ilgitsh, ca. 1900
Probably about 30 years ago there was a flea market they used to have in Miami Beach at the convention center. I would go regularly. And it was a booth, it was in a box buried. And I kind of found it, opened it up, and I was like, "Oh, my God, this is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." And it's been hanging on my wall ever since.
What'd you pay for it?
And do you have any idea where it's from?
I started more recently doing a little research. I thought it was around from Afghanistan or that region, and maybe early 1900s, late 1800.
Well, it's a very fine embroidery done by the Lakai tribe from Uzbekistan. They were done as dowry pieces and, depending on how well-to-do the bride was, would reflect how many pieces that she would have in her dowry. At the most there would be three or four. And after they were completed, they were hung on the wall of their yurt as part of their decoration. The name of this piece is called an ilgitch. The translation is "container or pouch." So it would have been a bag at one point, even though they would just hang it on the wall. One of the things that helps to show the age of a piece is the backing material. And if you look at the back of this piece, you can see it has this Russian cotton fabric that has a certain amount of age. It's consistent with what the age is of the piece, which is around 1900. People travel to Uzbekistan now that Russia is open. And they see many things like this in the marketplace for just a few hundred dollars. And it's important to differentiate between the pieces that are older that have collectible value and the ones that are just mass tourist trade that are still being made. It has a wonderful size to it and a wonderful large-scale motif. The later ones are busier and they have much brighter colors. The colors in this are a mixture of synthetic dyes and natural. The purple is a synthetic dye that has slightly faded. But because of the size and the quality of the stitching, which is very fine, the piece would still bring about $1,500.
In the marketplace on a retail level.
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