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SAIMA

Saima (embroidery) was a very popular and widespread craft – practiced by women of all ages – from the very young to the very old – and was more individualistic than some of the other traditional crafts, because it didn’t require a collective effort.

Many objects lent themselves easily to embroidery – sashes decorating the cupola of the yurt, the cloth covering the doorway of the yurt, bags, horse cloths, and clothing. Head-dresses, in particular, with long flaps were highly decorated. In the twentieth century even covers for radios and television sets were often made and decorated with fancy needlework. Tush Kiyiz are a special case of the use of embroidery.
 
In the north of the country – women would often stretch the material on which they were working over special frames – whereas in the south, the material would be pinned to the woman’s dress stretched over a bent knee and the woman would sew whilst sitting on the floor.

Ornaments made from precious metals, corals on other materials would often be incorporated into the pattern.

 A variety of stitches were used – chain, tambour, whip, satin and buttonhole – but please don’t ask us to explain the difference … it is better to look at several examples. Some of the museums throughout the country have examples of embroidery – but very little dating from before about the 1880’s has been preserved.