Turkmen Tent Band Fragment, Yomut Group(?),
Central Asia, mid 19th century or before(?),    1’4” x 7’10”

 

These tent bands, when complete, usually measure in excess of 40’ in length, so we are looking at perhaps 20% of what the complete band would have looked like. 

These mixed technique (pile weaving for the design, plain flat weave for the cream colored ground) bands are too formal and opulent to have ever been used structurally on the outside of the traditional tent (‘yurt’, a round tent composed of wooden struts over which a cover would be placed to form the ‘walls’,  not unlike the teepees of the North American plains Indians).  

Instead they are used as decoration on the interior of the tent.  Surely the designs seen, so foreign to what we see in other weavings from these Turkmen groups (ie. the chuval, torbas, mafrash, carpets, etc) are thought to possibly represent the ‘history’ of the people who made it.  

The myths surrounding much of the iconography seen in Central Asian weavings and textiles are many, with most having to do with fertility, auspicious symbols for protection (talismanic) or homage to the departed elders.
The palette of this weaving seems to be distinctive, one that identifies it as having ben woven by a specific tribal group in a specific location.  It is a palette that is not often encountered.  The brilliant magenta shade may be an imported insect dyestuff, as it is so unlike any of the other colors seen in this weaving.  

The star in center of the bold and colorful element is also distinctive, a madder that may be mordanted with tin to account for the striking hue.   

Otherwise, the ‘brown’ toned ground color is probably derived from madder root, of which the results can be varied depending on the age of the root when harvested, etc. 

The condition is good, and there are no holes or repairs.  The colors are all derived from natural dyestuffs.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 












 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 
















For further information on this piece, you may contact Thomas Cole