As a group we now call them Turkmen
Rugs. The old name in common usage was Turkoman Rugs but
the trend today is to drop Turkoman rugs in favor of
Turkmen rugs because Turkmen is the accepted English
translation of the name of the people and their language.
Earlier the rugs were called Bukhara or Afghan rugs.
When we wish to identify ethnicity political or
geographic names are so fleeting as to be meaningless.
Recently one national appraisal exam listed the correct
answer for all Turkmen rugs as Russian. Obvious this is
so maningtless as to be ludicrous. A number of years ago
Dr. Jon Thompson was highly influential in the move to
language names. It gives us a meaningful framework in
which to understand the ruigs so following Thompson I use
the language names for the rugs.
Therefore Turkmen rug because the weavers are Turkmen
who speak one of the dialects of the Turkmen language.
When in doubt we can categorize people by their
"milk" language. If a woman's primary language
is the Teke/Tekke dialect of Turkmen then we call her a
Teke/Tekke Turkmen and if she weaves a rug then it is a
Tekke Turkmen Rug. It would be more correct to say Teke
Rugs but Tekke rugs is accepted in the rug
dealer/collector community. Interestingly the rugs
generally fall into groups that correspond to language.
This has caused me to come to the conclusion that weaving
is an unspoken language.
Jim Allen has been sharing his thoughts with
me and Jim's thought process is always a treat.
There is a temptation with many in the rug field
to disregard some of Jim's more unusual
assertations. I admit at times I took some of
Jim's ideas with a grain of salt. Then I started
to really dig into the early histories of the
western penetration of the Turkmen areas
particularly the book Merv
Oasis by Edmund O'Donovan. Now I have come to
realizde that Jim has a better grasp of the
Turkmen than anyone I know. For years Jim has
talked about the Salor slaves held at Merv by the
Tekke. When Jim would mention that gem it was
widely disregarded by some of the leading lights
of Internet rug discussion. But now I have dig it
out and Jim had it right and he was pulling it
out of the Merv
Oasis by Edmund O'Donovan.
So if there were Salor slaves at Merv what was
the result? Jim is pointing to the Purple Group
and I think he has something. I will stop there
to see where Jim publishes his thoughts on the
"All wore the huge grenadier hats of black curled
sheepskin characteristic of the Turkmen, and each had the
usual long carving-knife-like dagger stuck in his white
Oasis by Edmund O'Donovan
Most turkmen are Hanafi Sunni Moslems but part of the
Yomud and all of the Goklen are Shia Moslems. See Turkmen language.
A difficulty with bazaar observations is the
possibility of mistaken attribution. Such is not a
problem for on site accounts. Two rather interesting
observations involve the sedentary Goklen who occupied a
small area within Persian jurisdiction. Here Fraser in
1825 remarked on the weaving of both felts and carpets.8
Yate, however, in 1894 described a different
"The interior of their kibitkas was even dirty
too, and they had none of the cleanliness and fine
carpets and wall-bags of the Tekkes and Sariks... The
Goklans did not appear to me to be such an industrious
race as their brethren the Tekkes or the Sariks. They
made no carpets, and only a few coarse rugs. Felts
apparently were their only manufacture....9"
Since the 16th century at least there have been Turkmen in the Gorgan and
Astrabad area. The major tribes are the Yomud and the Gocklen. When
it comes to differentiating between the two I am unclear
if there is anyway to tell the difference. I do fell
however that we can differentiate between Persian Turkmen
and those Turkmen of even the same tribe from
Turkmenistan. In this saddle rug we have an overall
"bright" tonality. The red is brighter then I
expect in most Yomut pieces. There is also the white
diamond border which is one that I equate with a Persian
Gorgan is an area northeast of Tehran , west of Mashad
and southeast of the Caspain sea. The main city Gorgon is
a city of about 150,000 in North Iran in the area east of
the Caspian Sea. It was conquerd by the Arabs in 716 and
by the Mongols in about 1219. In the second half of the
fiftheeth century it was controlled by Husein-i Buyqara
The greatest Prince of Herat or his incompetent sons. In
those days it was called Astrabad. In the 19th century it
flourished because the founder of the Qajar Dynasty Aga
Muhammad Khan was born there. The Gorgan plain was held
by Turkmen in the 17th century as vassals of Khans of
Chodor Ensi, West Turkestan,
last quarter 19th century, stepped triangular
floating mihrab and overall diamond lattice with
ertman guls in midnight and navy blue, ivory, and
light red on the aubergine-brown field,
flowerhead-in-square compartment border and ashik
gul elems of similar coloration, (slight moth
damage, small creases, small rewoven areas, small
corner gouges), 6 ft. by 4 ft. 4 in.
"No consensus exists, however, on
exactly how many major dialects should be
recognized within Turkmen. For instance, while
some scholars consider Salir and Sarik as major
dialects (Hanser 1977), others consider them as
variants of Teke (Dulling 1960)." UCLA Turkmen Profile
Dulling had it backwards in that Teke and Saryk
derive from Salor. JBOC
First mention of Turkmen (al
Turk-maniyun) by Makdisi in the 10th century. He
used the term to refer to the Oguz and the
Karluks. The Oguz were located near Isfijab in
the mid Syr Darya region. Krader,
Central Asia. Page 57.
Mahmud al-Kashgari refers to Oguz
and Karluks as Turkmen in the 11th century. . Krader,
Central Asia. Page 57.
The Oguz adopted Islam in the
10th century under a leader named Seljuk. Krader,
Central Asia. Page 57.
Turkman began to be used to mean
Oguz exclusively in the 11 century by Gardizi and
Central Asia. Page 58.
Turkman and Trukhmens split in
1680 with the Trukhmens moving into the North
Central Asia. Page 58.
In the 18th and 19th centuries
the Turkmen gained power as the Persians lost
power in the region. Krader,
Central Asia. Page 97.
South of the Ersari are the
Alieli (Alili), a much smaller clan, who are
confined to the small khanate of Andchoy. Their
number is probably under twelve thousand people;
and if Ferrier's inquiries may be trusted, these
are not a distinct tribe, but only a branch of
the Tekes who were removed to Andchoy in the
reign of Shah Abbas the Great. He calls them
descendants of the Afshars that tribe of
which Nadir Shah was a member. The
Turkmen by Demetrius Charles Boulger Part 4
From: "Seyitguly Batyrov" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed Oct 8, 2003 5:02 pm
Subject: Re: [OrientalRug] Teke not Tekke
I cannot tell you what an honor it will be to help you in
Of course, I may never catch on with your vast knowledge
of antique Turkmen
rugs but I hope to be helpful with spelling at least.
I must confess I made an error with asmalyk and kapunuk.
Of course, you are right, they are absolutely different
weavings and your
definitions are absolutely correct.
Asmalyk is the correct spelling of what I often see
spelled as "asmaldyk",
"osmolduk", etc. The literal
translation is "a thing to be hung". Asmak=To
Kapunuk is wrong - the correct spelling is gapylyk. The translation is "a
thing (intended) for the door (of the yurt)".
To the best of my knowledge gapylyks were not woven in
I know you must know most of these:
Ayatlyk - weaving intended for funeral ceremonies.
Sallanchak (not salatshak) - means literally a cradle. To
the best of my
knowledge, the rug used on a sallanchak should normally
But I never heard this word. It may be that the Turkmen
people may not have
used any special word for this type of weaving.
Namazlyk - prayer rug.
Ensi or Engsi
Öy - yurt
Ak öy - when yurt is brand new
Gara öy - when the roof of the yurt is black because of
smoke from the ojak
Göl - Gul
Germech (not Germetch)
Gochanak (not Kochanak)
Örtmen (not Ertmen)
Atabay (not Atabei)
Japarbay or Jafarbay (not Jaferbei)
Yilan Beshir or Beshir Yilan - (not Ersari or Beshir
Gushly Göl - the genuine name of the main Teke göl
Gabsa Göl - (not Kepse gul)
Bukcha (not Bokche)
Ayna Göl (not Aina gul)
Towuk Nusga (?) or simply Towuk (Tauk Nuska) - I wonder
whether Nuska comes
from the Turkmen word "nusga" - cartoon or the
Russian word nozhka - leg
Ashyk border (not Ashik) translates literally as
Khorjun (not khorjin)
Chyrpy (not cherpi or chirpi)
The names of the tribes:
Salyr (not Salor or Salur)
Ersary (not Ersari) - not sure whether it must be A or
E (first letter). What letter in this word would you use
for the sound that corresponds to the letter
"a" as in cat, track, etc.? But certainly Y at
the end, not I.
Teke (Tekke is so widely used that it is going to be
very difficult to start adopting this correct spelling)
Alili (might have originally been Ali Ili but the
modern spelling is Alili)
Ogurjaly (I have never heard of this tribe in modern
Turkmenistan - it seems to have disappeared - but there
are some Yomut "dervish" tribes coming from the
Caspian Ogurja islands)
Gyzylayak or Gyzyl-ayak (NOT Kizil-ayak) - a subtribe
of the Ersary
Arabachy (not Arabatchi) - a very small minority lives
among the Ersary - I hear a part of them lives in
Uzbekistan where they often discover some of their old
weavings (or fakes?)
Igdir (not Igdyr)
Abdal Ata - of mixed Turkmen/Arab descent
Shikh - of mixed Turkmen/Arab descent
Hoja - of mixed Turkmen/Arab descent
Magtym - of mixed Turkmen/Arab descent etc.
I will certainly see if I can offer more suggestions.
By the way, in one of your Turkmen pages, you say that
the head of our country is a Yomut. In reality, it is a
well-known fact that he is a Teke but that is truly not
relevant. If possible, we would very much appreciate if
you could remove that part completely. All the Turkmen
tribes are of equal significance and rank in our country.
The majority of these errors originate in various
books by the Russian authors and since the Western
researchers were almost never allowed to visit Central
Asia during the Soviet period, this nomenclature remained
unaltered for more than a century.
Now that there is a definite knowledge of the correct
spellings, I hope all the highly-esteemed connoisseurs
like you Barry will resolve this situation. As such, let
me express sincere gratitude for your efforts, Sir. On
of my nation. And although the handmade rugs in general
are "in recess" at the moment, I hope the
future holds great prospects for the revival of Turkmen