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Ref. No: 0407-09

Type: Turkmen Teke

Group: Teke Gul

Origin Country: Turkmenistan

General/Historical Information: Serious research into the weaving culture of the Turkmen's must, of course, encompass more than aesthetic appreciation. The beauty of such weavings has unquestionably been the most important factor both for historians and collectors but it is the starting point, the motivation for a greater curiosity. The history, genealogy, beliefs, and way of life of the Turkmen steppe peoples are all of great importance to their art. Turkmen rugs, therefore, with their distinctive palettes, motifs and compositions, are not merely examples of a strange and exotic 'folk' art but represent a highly complex and historically continuous culture.
This strong historical continuity was made possible by the innate conservatism of Western and Central Asian tribal cultures and, most importantly, by their nomadic, or semi-nomadic, way of life. The Turkmen's (who belong to a Western Turkic language group - unlike any other Central Asian peoples) have thus been able to maintain and develop their own special culture.
Because the majority were nomads or semi-nomads, hardly any written sources exist to indicate the origins of the Turkmen's hut it is clear that they are descended from the Oghuz tribe, whose genealogies list a few names still found in the 19th century. Other descendants of the Oghuz were the Seljuk's, Azeris and Ottomans, who built great empires from the 11th century onwards, their power and territorial expansion creating a Turkic-based culture into eastern Europe, North Africa and Spain. Within this historical context, Therefore, it is not difficult to see the importance of the Oghuz and their descendants; and the history of the Oghuz. With all its later political and geographical ramifications, is crucial to a proper understanding of Turkmen weaving, as will become clear.

Art Analysis: The two most obvious characteristics of Turkmen weavings in general, and of carpets in particular, are their use of geometric ornamentation and their predominantly red to red-brown palette. Red had already achieved considerable symbolic significance in the Neolithic period - the habit of covering skeletons with red ochre was widespread before the 5th millennium B.C. - and during the Bronze Age in Central Asia was associated with the warrior class. Turkmen weavings with white or light ground colors are unusual and were probably used only during weddings and important religious festivals.


The principal motif found on Turkmen weavings is the gul, a geometric, usually octagonal motif of an emblematic nature. The fields of carpets are usually decorated with rows of 'major' guls interspersed regularly with smaller "minor" guls of different shape. This field is surrounded by major and minor borders and although it is unusual to find instances where the ~frame' cuts into the major guls, it is not difficult to read the composition of any Turkmen carpets field as a section of an infinite repeat.

At the ends of carpets and at the bottom of bags and ensis, there are usually extra panels, called eleems. Some, usually by the Tekke, are piled with simple stripes; but generally, they are more elaborately decorated, often with different patterns at top and bottom. The elems themselves are followed by flat-woven ends (although these are very often missing from older pieces). According to Moshkova the one exception to the general rule is to be found in Saryk carpets which always had large flat-woven ends hut never any elems.

Pile: pure wool

Warp&Weft: Wool

Colors: Naturally Dyed, 7 = Dark Red, deep red, black, dark blue, night sky blue, cream, brown

Size: 105x160cm

Area: 1.68m2

Weight: 3.4kg

Kg/m2: 2.02

AGE: about 60 years old

Condition: Some parts are repaired; some parts of the fringes are missed. 

Technical Analysis: The TURKMEN rugs have different size and majority of them are small size (2x3 to 4x6 feet) But also large rugs could be founds up to large mid size (4x6 to 8x10 feet).

The height of pile: 4-5 mm

Comments: The quality of TURKMEN rugs and carpets are varies. The older rugs are very good, but some of the newer one is not as good as old one. Some of the newer rugs have lower number of KPSI and they chemically dyed instead of using vegetable dyed. This 60 years old carpet is certainly naturally dyed and considered one of the best quality Turkmen carpets.

Researched and prepared by Vugar Dadashov



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