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Characteristics Of Certain Turkoman Rugs

BESHIR rugs resemble in certain aspects the rugs of Afghanistan. The texture is similar, and the same rich blues and reds are seen ; a red webbing at the ends extends at some length, and has dark lines crossing it. The rug is longer than the Afghanistan. The field differs. There is an Arabic effect in the design, and yet with a reminder of the Yomud in the general aspect. But the hook, which plays so important a part in the Yomud, is missing.

Bokhara rugs which are made in the city and Khanate of that name, are not the so-called Bokhara rugs of the Western world. The genuine Bokhara rugs are of good size, with large patterns, and are very strong and forceful in character. They are sold in the Occident under the name of Khiva or Afghanistan.

Genghis (often called Guendje) rugs are woven by a tribe of Turkomans who live the life of nomads. They are named after Genghis Khan, the great Mogul conqueror who invaded Central Asia in the year 1218. The rugs are woven of brown wool, or strong goat's hair, and have rather a long pile. The designs are mostly geometric, although the palm leaf and vine are often seen.

Guendje (see Genghis) rugs.

Kashgar rugs are made in Eastern Turkestan. They are quite coarse, with designs of a Chinese character in strong coloring. Yellows and a sort of lead-white are much used in these rugs ; again, blues and ivory-white are seen, while reds, pinks, greens, and a deep orange are common. The Chinese fret, the dragon, and fishes are among the designs employed. The Tree of Life is of frequent occurrence, but is a crude representation.

Khalatch rugs are woven by a division of the Ersari tribe of the upper Oxus, bearing the name Khalatch. They are included under the one greater head of Turkomans. The rugs are recognized by the single stripes of bands that divide the field both vertically and horizontally. These bands are ornamented with single motifs, and are generally considered to be the earliest decoration of woven fabrics. Besides the bands, stars, crosses, forms of the hook, and small prayer niches, one at the top and one at the bottom, but each facing in the same direction, are seen. Often a stark tree effect is noticed.. In the trade these Turkoman rugs are commonly called Kchatchli (pronounced Hatchli --Bokhara).



Khiva rugs are woven by Turkomans inhabiting Central Asia. The firmness, durability, and bold grandeur of these rugs render them very pleasing. The field is of one of the splendid reds so much favored by this great race. Arranged over the field are large forms of the lozenge. Frequently these large forms contain smaller lozenges, which are very decorative. Often a part of the larger lozenge forms are indented at both top and bottom. There is generally a stark tree form between the lozenges, in a peacock blue color. Much ivory is used throughout the field and border, in heavy lines of demarcation. These rugs are sold under the name of Afghan in the Western market. Well-toned shades of red, blue, tan, ivory, and an occasional green are the usual colors.. Sometimes a Khiva has a long panel centre, with a prayer niche. In many fine specimens the lustre is an added attraction.

Samarkand rugs are a product of Central Asia. They show distinctly Chinese characteristics. Some-times the field is covered with round medallions, from one to five in number, holding odd figures. The Chinese fret is common in the design, and sometimes a large crude flower arrangement is noticed. Reds, magenta, green, blues, a soft fawn, white, and much yellow, especially in the border, are the usual colors. Soft and rich, these rugs have a distinctive character, and are attractive. Their texture, however, is quite thin, and they are not very durable for the floor, but attractive on the wall or divan.

Tekke-Turkoman rugs are sold in the Occident under the name of Bokharas. The design has little variety, and generally the rugs are among the easiest to distinguish. The design is usually octagon, in white or ivory tones with blue and orange, and occasionally green, upon a field of rich deep red, or rose.. Brown and black, with white, are also used in the lines of demarcation or in the border. Sometimes the smaller designs are very decorative. Occasionally in the past this tribe, which is considered the most savage of all the Turkomans, has woven a rug with a diamond figure in place of the octagon, but this is not typical. Also instead of the usual red field a wonderful mahogany shade is seen with a rare green in place of the usual blue of the octagon. In the borders one often finds the eight-pointed star. The Tekke tribe use their rugs as portieres, for divan covers, and for floor coverings. Rich in coloring, fine, yet durable, these rugs are greatly prized.

Yarkand rugs are very similar to Kashgar rugs, having the same general characteristics.

Yomud rugs are woven by the tribe bearing that name, whose territory seems to include both Astrabad and Khiva. The rugs woven by this tribe are in rich tones of deep red or plum, sometimes mahogany in tone. The design most frequently seen is the diamond, surrounded by the hook. The weaving is very satisfactory, and the coloring in brownish-reds is particularly good. In some odd and rare pieces among the Yomud Turkomans, blue figures conspicuously, as does green also. The border in these rugs is sometimes in stripes, sometimes in a sort of crudely drawn vine.

( Originally Published Late 1900's )


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