Yomut, Turkmenistan
1st half of the 19th century



Several Turkmen tribes wove five- or seven-sided trappings known as asmalyk, which were made in pairs to decorate the flanks of a bride's wedding camel and were then hung in her domed, felt-covered tent. Yomut tribeswomen produced white ground asmalyk in several designs. The weaver of this example began the field with a row of elaborate blossoms floating stemless on a white ground - a rare if not unique pattern. She then proceeded to weave a far more traditional design of smaller, more gul-like flowers connected by vertical stalks and placed within a trelliswork of spiky leaves. Functional articles like this one were seldom on the market before the late 19th century. Because their makers used them until they were worn out, few that predate the early 1800s have survived. The rare spontaneity of this asmalyk, the quiet spaciousness of its field design, the fluid drawing of its reciprocal guard borders, and its supple handle are evidence that it is one of the oldest representatives of its type.


SIZE: 35 x 53 in. (88.9 x 134.6 cm.)
WARP:  wool, z2s; light brown
WEFT: wool and cotton, Z2S x 1-2; ivory
PILE: wool, zzs and Z3S, symmetrical knots, h. 10, v. 22, 220 k/sq. in.; ivory, dark brown, red-brown, red, pink, light yellow, blue-green, green-blue, dark blue
ENDS: top: ivory cotton and wool weft-faced plain weave, now turned under; bottom: blue wool weft-faced plain weave, now turned under
SIDES: ivory wool and cotton plain weave over 4 warps, now turned under

Oriental Rugs from New England Private Collections