Entries by a-bey

A Shaman’s Trapping

Once in a lifetime a Turkman weaving might come along that breaks all the traditional rules offering a rare insight into the religious and spiritual lives of those fierce nomadic horsemen. This ersari trapping is like a Turkman ‘Rosetta stone’ for me.

Tekke Refugees in Anatolia

In the sixteenth century the Tekke were a minor tribe surrounded by the Sariq, the Ersari, and the Ata. All of these tribes were subject to the Dashqi Salor Confederation which is sometimes referred to as the Outer Salor. In this paper I discuss a theory concerning the fate of one prominant sixteenth century Tekke clan.

Salor Refugees in Anatolia

Marla Mallet wrote the following sentence at the end of her description of an antique Yahyali prayer kilim. “One note for die-hard Turkmen enthusiasts: The Yahyali area was one place supposedly settled by early Salor migrants in Anatolia. It’s not the Salor weaving you would expect, is it?!” Source of Quote

The Small Tekke Rug

The function of small Tekke rugs employing main carpet gulls in traditional Turkmen society has never been elucidated nor written about to a significant degree. I think these rugs were used by high ranking males to sit on at opportune or auspicious times. I suspect the number of truly traditional Tekke small rugs with main carpet gulls parallels that of traditional Tekke main carpets. If this is so then there must be far more small Tekke rugs with chuval gulls since they were used by Tekke brides receiving guests before the wedding.

Mughal Designs in Yomud Weavings

An enigmatic and obviously very old Yomud asmalyk, housed at The Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, France; may have iconography derived from certain 17th century Mughal designs. The asmuldyk was last exhibited at the Cultural Center de Boulogne-Billancourt ( near Paris ) from January 26 to March 26, 1982. Afterwards a magazine reviewer wrote,” The piece is an extraordinary early Yomut asmalyk, unique in the zoomorphic quality of its plant motifs and with a large trefoil border.”

The Turkmen

Turkmen crossing a bridge - Photo courtesy Russian Ethnographic Museum St. PetersburgIn my study of Turkmen ethno-history and in my travels to their ancient lands I’ve built up an image of an alien type or form of human being. No less strange to us today than something visiting us from another world. The Turkmen, or nomadic, way of life was very seductive to Chinese peasants who saw the nomads freedom as a wonderful alternative to their heavily taxed and mortgaged lives. The Chinese ran several different waves of these nomads from their Northern border regions all the way until they were all lost in the trackless wastelands of Central Asia. I suspect Central Asia served as the melting pot for nomadic warrior societies being pursued by much larger and better equipped military forces. The persecution of these nomads resulted in the diversity and richness of pre-modern Turkmen life and their rich weaving traditions.

The Missing Arabatchi

When my wife and I lived in Brooklyn, New York, in the 1990’s many collectors and dealers came around to see us. I was known as a Turkoman connoisseur, collector, and writer. One very colorful visitor was Peter Saunders. Peter wrote a very nice book on tribal weaving, Saunders, Peter E. Tribal Visions , before most of us had ever given Oriental Rugs a second thought. Peter Saunders is a highly talented and brilliant rug scholar whose brilliance is sometimes overshadowed by his unconventional and somewhat eccentric joie de vie. Peter consulted to Christie’s on their rug catalogue for years and did a fine job in my opinion.