Our collaboration began when we realised that both India and Uzbekistan played a significant role in the cultural, historical and economic exchanges within the silk road. There is something there for us to further explore…
Advani brings together handcrafted textile heritage of the East, specifically India, with the luxury and fashion of the West and creates a unique tailoring experience. Bayali, on the other hand, offers a travel experience to Uzbekistan through handcrafted objects made by artisans whose stories and know-how can be linked to the Silk Road. Uzbekistan was at the core of the Eurasian continent, somewhere between the East and the West. A strategic position which allowed it to participate in both sides of the Silk Roads’ transcontinental system.
There we were, with the perfect tie for both our brands: A journey along the Silk Road where fabrics and objects transport us from the Taj Mahal, through to Uzbekistan before arriving in London in our pop-up boutique on Maddox Street.
As you will probably realise – if you haven’t already, Bayali is all about stories, small yet meaningful facts… So we did what we know best, we delved into the history of the Great Silk Roads, eager to find exciting stories about the bond between India and Uzbekistan for us to share with you.
So let’s go back in time !
The root of one of the most powerful and leading dynasty in the world, the Mughals, began in Central Asia. Renowned for bringing India’s communities together into one unified nation, the Mughals’ origins can be traced back to the Mongol Chingisids and the Timurids. Babur, founder of the Mughal empire, embodied a part of our journey along the Silk Road. Brought up in the Fergana Valley in Uzbekistan, he travelled along the silk route before settling in India in 1526.
*Fun fact – Did you know that all of our knives made by our artisan Sodiq are named after the Silk Road?*
Central Asia was also predominant within the Mughal court when it came to monumental architecture. The two major Mughal tombs, The Mausoleum of Humayun and the Taj Mahal were both inspired by the architecture of the breath-taking Mausoleum of Tamerlane, the fearless Timurid ruler, in Samarkand.
Samarkand experienced, throughout the long history of the Silk Roads, numerous ups and downs and especially due to foreign invasions but it continued to triumph and became more beautiful and majestic each time! It was even named, amongst many others, “Image of the Earth”, “Rome of the East”, “The Blessed City” (Uzbekistan | Silk Roads Programme, 2022).
Having said that, we couldn't discuss the Silk Road without talking about the silk! Uzbekistan is also known for its silk and particularly its Ikat fabrics.
If you want to know what Ikat fabrics look like, why don’t you have a look at our cushions.
Ikat became an important feature of the Uzbek culture, thanks to the caravans of nomad traders who stopped along their journey on the silk route. By the 18th century, Ikat was a highly luxurious fabric strictly intended for royals and the upper-class. It was also a know-how which only a tiny, tiny, amount of skilled craftsmen were allowed to practice.
But let’s keep the story of Ikat and its extremely long and complex process for another post!
If you’re really curious and just cannot wait, you can watch our video showing you the different steps :
And of course, just before you go, we would love to introduce you to our Ikat master Adbullayev.
We hope to see you in our pop-up boutique 58 Maddox Street W1S 1AY in London !
Love & Safe travels,
Prunelle & Diego
En.unesco.org. 2022. Uzbekistan | Silk Roads Programme. [online] Available at: <https://en.unesco.org/silkroad/countries-alongside-silk-road-routes/uzbekistan>