About Turkmen Rug.
Turkmen rugs, also known as Turkoman rugs or simply Turkmen carpets, are a type of handwoven textile that originates from the region of Central Asia, specifically among the Turkmen tribes. These tribes, predominantly found in modern-day Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Uzbekistan, have a rich tradition of creating intricate and detailed carpets using wool and silk.
Turkmen rugs are well-known for their high-quality craftsmanship, durability, and unique design patterns. They often feature geometric motifs, stylized floral designs, and symbolic elements that are specific to the various Turkmen tribes. The most recognizable motif in Turkmen rugs is the "gul," which is an octagonal or hexagonal medallion. Each Turkmen tribe has its unique "gul" design, and it is often used to identify the origin of the rug.
The colors used in Turkmen rugs are typically deep reds, maroons, blues, and dark browns, with occasional accents of ivory, green, or yellow. The dyes are usually derived from natural sources, such as plants and insects, which contribute to the richness and longevity of the colors.
Turkmen rugs are typically woven using a combination of techniques, including the symmetrical (Turkish) knot and the asymmetrical (Persian) knot. The rugs are often made with wool from the tribe's own sheep, which is known for its high quality and durability. Silk may also be used in some cases, particularly for intricate details or highlights. The foundation of the rugs is typically made from wool or a combination of wool and goat hair.
A NEWLY MADE TURKEM IN AFGHANISTAN WITH HAND-SPUN WOOL AND VEGETABLE DYES.
Turkmen rugs have been highly prized both locally and internationally for centuries. They have been sought after as collectibles, decorative items, and investments by collectors, interior designers, and art enthusiasts. The combination of unique designs, skilled craftsmanship, and high-quality materials make Turkmen rugs a distinctive and valuable part of the textile art world.
The wool used in Persian Serab rugs is often classified according to its grade or quality. The highest grade of wool is known as kurk, which is the softest and most lustrous. Kurk wool is typically used in the finest Persian rugs, including Serab rugs. The next grade of wool is called kork wool, which is also of high quality but has slightly less luster than kurk wool. Other grades of wool used in Persian rugs include makhmal, which is a very soft and fine wool, and pashmina, which is a type of cashmere wool that is also very soft and luxurious.
Turkmen Rug Wool: The Backbone of a Timeless Art Form
The Turkmen rug is a testament to the artistry, skill, and heritage of the Turkmen people. With roots that stretch back over millennia, these rugs have been woven by the nomadic tribes of Central Asia, who have made this exquisite craft a part of their cultural identity. One of the essential elements that have contributed to the lasting appeal and unparalleled quality of these rugs is the wool used in their production. This wool, obtained from the tribes' own sheep, is renowned for its exceptional quality, durability, and resilience.
Sourcing and Selecting the Wool
The wool used in Turkmen rugs comes from the sheep breeds native to Central Asia, primarily the Fat-Tailed sheep. These sheep are well-adapted to the harsh climates and diverse landscapes of the region, and their wool has unique characteristics that make it ideal for rug-making. The wool is typically shorn from the sheep during the spring and fall, when the animals naturally shed their thick winter coats.
Turkmen weavers are selective about the wool they use in their rugs, paying close attention to the texture, length, and color of the fibers. Ideally, the wool should be fine and soft yet strong and resilient, with a natural luster that enhances the beauty of the finished rug. The weavers also prefer wool with a natural, deep red hue, as it complements the traditional color palette of Turkmen rugs.
Preparing the Wool
Once the wool has been sourced, it undergoes a series of processing steps to ensure it is clean, soft, and ready for weaving. The wool is first sorted by color and quality, removing any undesirable fibers or debris. It is then washed with water, soap, and sometimes natural plant extracts to remove dirt, grease, and other impurities. After washing, the wool is dried in the sun, which helps to preserve its natural color and luster.
The next step is carding, which involves pulling the wool fibers between two metal-toothed brushes or combs to separate, untangle, and align the fibers. This process is crucial for creating a uniform, smooth, and soft texture in the wool, which in turn allows for finer, more intricate weaving.
Spinning the Wool
Once carded, the wool is spun into yarn using a spindle or spinning wheel. The spinning process involves twisting the fibers together to create a strong, continuous strand that can be used for weaving. The thickness and tightness of the twist can be adjusted to create yarns of different thicknesses and textures. Finer yarns are used for more detailed designs, while thicker yarns are used for sturdy foundations and borders.
Dyeing the Wool
Traditional Turkmen rugs are known for their rich, deep colors, which are achieved using natural dyes derived from plants, insects, and minerals. The wool is dyed before weaving, ensuring the colors are absorbed evenly and thoroughly. Common natural dyes used in Turkmen rugs include madder root for red, indigo for blue, and walnut husks for brown. The dyes are often mixed and modified using various mordants, such as alum or iron, to create a wider range of hues and shades.
The wool is soaked in the dye solution for a period of time, ranging from several hours to several days, depending on the desired color intensity. After dyeing, the wool is rinsed and dried, locking in the vibrant colors that will define the finished rug.
Weaving the Masterpiece
With the wool prepared, dyed, and spun, the weaving process begins. Turkmen rugs are typically woven on a horizontal or vertical loom, using a combination of Turkish (symmetrical) and Persian (asymmetrical) knots. The weaver starts by creating
Types of Turkmen Rugs
There are several types of Turkmen rugs, each associated with a particular Turkmen tribe or regional style. Some of the most well-known Turkmen rugs include:
- · Tekke Rugs: Tekke rugs are one of the most famous and highly prized Turkmen rugs, originating from the Tekke tribe. They are characterized by their deep red color and repeated "gul" motifs, which are often octagonal or diamond-shaped. The Tekke tribe is known for producing high-quality rugs with fine knotting and intricate designs.
- · Yomud Rugs: The Yomud tribe is another prominent group that creates distinctive Turkmen rugs. Yomud rugs are known for their rich colors, often featuring deep reds, blues, and ivory. The designs usually include geometric patterns, stylized floral motifs, and the Yomud tribe's unique "gul" pattern. Yomud rugs often have a more open and spacious layout compared to Tekke rugs.
- · Ersari Rugs: The Ersari tribe produces rugs with a distinct style, featuring larger "gul" motifs and geometric designs. Ersari rugs are generally less finely knotted than Tekke or Yomud rugs but are known for their durability and bold, expressive patterns. The colors used in Ersari rugs include deep reds, browns, and blues, with occasional touches of green and ivory.
AN ANTIQUE TURKEMN RUG FROM EALRY 1900'S
- · Salor Rugs: The Salor tribe is one of the oldest Turkmen tribes and was once considered the most prestigious rug-producing group. Salor rugs are rare and highly sought after by collectors. They are characterized by their fine knotting, intricate designs, and distinctive "gul" patterns, which are often larger and more elaborate than those found in other Turkmen rugs. The color palette of Salor rugs includes deep reds, blues, and ivory.
- · Chodor Rugs: Chodor rugs come from the Chodor tribe and are known for their geometric patterns, often featuring a combination of "gul" motifs and other tribal symbols. The colors used in Chodor rugs include deep reds, blues, and browns, with occasional touches of green, ivory, and yellow. Chodor rugs are appreciated for their striking designs and solid craftsmanship.
- · Saryk Rugs: The Saryk tribe produces rugs with a distinct style, characterized by their smaller "gul" motifs and more open field designs. Saryk rugs often feature a combination of geometric patterns, stylized floral motifs, and tribal symbols. The color palette of Saryk rugs includes deep reds, blues, browns, and ivory.
Each of these types of Turkmen rugs reflects the unique culture, heritage, and artistic sensibilities of the tribe that creates them. While there are some similarities in terms of materials, techniques, and motifs, each type of Turkmen rug has its distinct characteristics, making them highly prized by collectors, art enthusiasts, and lovers of beautiful textiles.