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Suzani From Bukhara

Create a beautiful central Asian textile replica using the opulent colors of Crayola® Twistables Colored Pencils.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. The central Asian country of Uzbekistan is rich in culture and traditions. Ask students to locate this area on a map. A center of Sunni Islam, some people in Uzbekistan trace their heritage back to the empire of Genghis Khan. Cotton, the country’s primary crop, is used to make textiles such as prayer rugs, curtains, clothing, and wall hangings (friezes).
    2. Decorative Suzani (su-za-NEE) friezes are embroidered with stitches in regional patterns that have been used for generations. They typically contain geometric or abstract images such as open flowers, circles, rosettes, leaves, and other natural subjects. The threads, made from silk, cotton, and now synthetic materials, may be dyed with vegetal ingredients such as pomegranate peel and walnuts. Challenge students working in small groups to find pictures of Uzbek textiles on the Internet or visit a store that carries items from central Asia.
    3. Invite students to create a replica Suzani, individually or in small groups. Students begin by sketching abstract shapes and patterns with Crayola Twistables Colored Pencils on white paper. Encourage children to think of interesting ways to arrange their designs.
    4. Provide each student or group with a recycled file folder. Students draw their display Suzani, filling in patterns with the rich colors. Use hatched lines to simulate stitches.
    5. With classmates, students display Suzanis around a map of the country with a brief description of Uzbekistan’s culture and history.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    LA: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    MATH: Represent real world and mathematical problems by graphing points in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane, and interpret coordinate values of points in the context of the situation.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    SS: Describe how we depend upon workers with specialized jobs and the ways in which they contribute to the productions and exchange of goods and services.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Analyze, describe, and demonstrate how factors of time and place influence visual characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art.

    VA: Integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in artworks.

  • Adaptations

    Invite students to bring a fabric item from another country to the classroom. Prior to bringing the item in, ask students to investigate the history of the item including, but not limited to, where it is from, what materials were used in creating the fabric, is there a pattern in the fabric that his cultural significance, etc. Students should be prepared to present their item to the class, including a talk about the fabric. Classmates take digital photographs of each item and the owner writes a brief summary of the item's cultural importance. Display the photos and summaries in the classroom.

    Small groups of students sketch a world map, including the outline of all country borders. Label each country, its capital city, major landforms, etc. Encourage students to research the Silk Road from Asia to Europe and sketch it onto their world map. When and how was the Silk Road used? What is happening in areas along this route today?

    Prior to creating individual or group Suzani, students use their knowledge of the coordinate plane to graph patterns to be included in the artwork. Students write directions for another classmate to duplicate their pattern on the coordinate plane.

    Invite a local merchant that works with textiles to visit with the class. Ask him to discuss the variety of raw materials used to create textiles, how patterns are created, the cultural symbolism of colors used in patterns, and geometric shapes included in art pieces. After the meeting, students post learning to a class blog.


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