Turkmen Rugs and Carpets

Guide to Antique Turkmen Namazlyk - Prayer Rugs

In waves Oguz Turkmen split with some moving west and some remaining in Central Asia. The last major split was at the time of the Mongol invasion. Fleeing ahead of the hordes of Cingiss Gan (Genghis Khan) the last major wave fled only to end up as the Ottoman Turks founders of the world's longest lasting empire the Ottoman Empire. The Oguz tribes who stayed in present day Turkmenistan and Khorasan are today's Turkmen and those who moved west are the Northern and Southern Azeri as well as the Turkish. This section deals with the prayer rugs of the Turkmen. It is a short section because except in rare cases they did not weave Prayer rugs. I went into my long winded explanation of who the Turkmen are in respect to their cousins to the west because by and large the western Oguz Seljuk tribes did weave prayer rugs.

In the Turkmen Dictionary that Seyitguly Batyrov and I have been putting together we give the word Namazlyk as Turkmen for prayer rug. There is a debate however concerning Ensis. Are they prayer rugs? Currently almost everyone says no but Dick Wright has an article well worth reading: Richard E. Wright Research Reports: Artifact. I have dealt with Ensis elsewhere so I will leave them out of this discussion.

Antique Yomud Prayer Rug

A very rare and at the risk of having two more pop up, a unique Yomut Namazlyk - prayer rug. Dennis Dodds wrote, "As Robert Pinner states in ORIENTAL RUGS FROM ATLANTIC COLLECTIONS, "the scarcity of Turkmen prayer rugs woven before the late 19th century.. . (is because that) prayer rugs were not part of the early Turkmen weaving tradition." ".

I must note that the Yomut are a special case in that with the Uzbek invasion of Turkmenistan 1500 - 1507 AD. most Turkmen tribes came under the rule of the Khanates of Khiva or Bukhara while the Yomut and the Gocklin fell under the rule of first the Timurids and then after a brief period of independence under the Safavid Persians. James J. Reid makes a convincing argument to count the Yomud as a Kizyl Bash tribe in his book Tribalism and Society in Islamic Iran. If this ai Astrakhn Yomud then Yomud rathr than Yomut is appropriate.

The Dodds Antique Yomut Namazlyk - prayer rug circa 1800-50

See also my Guide to Antique Yomut Weaving

Yomut Prayer Rug Yomut are a special case in that with the Uzbek invasion of Turkmenistan 1500 - 1507 AD. most Turkmen tribes came under the rule of the Khanates of Khiva or Bukhara while the Yomut and the Gocklin fell under the rule of first the Timurids and then after a brief period of independence under the Safavid Persians. James J. Reid makes a convincing argument to count the Yomut as a Kizyl Bash tribe in his book Tribalism and Society in Islamic Iran.

The Dodds Antique Yomut Namazlyk - prayer rug circa 1800-50

Beshir Prayer Rugs The Beshir fall under the Arsary/Ersari confederation which split from the Salor dominated Turkmen confederation at a point after the foundation of the Janid dynasty and certainly no later than early in the Manghit dynasty. The Arsary are the eastern Turkmen who moved into the areas of the Khanates of Bukhara and Balkh. In the time that time Nadir Shah of Persia conquered Bukhara in 1740 and the Manghit Uzbeks took over the Khanate after the death of nadir shah in 1747 a clear split emerged between the western Turkmen in the Khanate of Khiva and those to the east. The Western Turkmen included the Salor/Salyr which still included the Saryk and the Teke/Tekke as well as the Yomut and Chowdur. To the east were the Arsary/Ersari who were in a separate market from their western cousins and subsequently developed a different esthetic. In this group are the Beshir who weave a significantly different style rug than those to the west.

The best Beshir prayer rug

Antique Beshir Prayer Rugs

The Beshir fall under the Arsary/Ersari confederation which split from the Salor dominated Turkmen confederation at a point after the foundation of the Janid dynasty and certainly no later than early in the Manghit dynasty. The Arsary are the eastern Turkmen who moved into the areas of the Khanates of Bukhara and Balkh. In the time that time Nadir Shah of Persia conquered Bukhara in 1740 and the Manghit Uzbeks took over the Khanate after the death of nadir shah in 1747 a clear split emerged between the western Turkmen in the Khanate of Khiva and those to the east. The Western Turkmen included the Salor/Salyr which still included the Saryk and the Teke/Tekke as well as the Yomut and Chowdur. To the east were the Arsary/Ersari who were in a separate market from their western cousins and subsequently developed a different esthetic. In this group are the Beshir who weave a significantly different style rug than those to the west.


"The best Antique Beshir prayer rug ", lot 55
CLOSING BID 19,150 USD Nov, 2001

Sotheby's Antique Beshir 3 Arch Prayer Rug
CLOSING BID 26,887 USD Dec. 2002

Hali magazine referred ton the Beshir Prayer Rug to the left as the best Beshir prayer rug of this small design group (Marketplace," Hali, issue 91, p. 157). About a year later at the same auction house at least two bidders liked the rug on the right enough top bid it to more than $7000 more than the "Best".

Kizil Ajak Prayer Rugs

See the section above for the explanation of the Arsary. The Kizil Ajak are from Northern Afghanistan in what was the Uzbek Khanate of Balkh. How or when they got there is beyond me. I have yet to see anything older that late 19th century that I would identify as Kizil Ajak.

  Kizil Ajak Prayer Rugs The Kizil Ajak are from Northern Afghanistan in what was the Uzbek Khanate of Balkh. How or when they got there is beyond me. I have yet to see anything older that late 19th century that I would identify as Kizil Ajak.
 

Antique Chodor/Chowdur Prayer Rug?

Namazlyk or Ensi?
Maybe it is an Ensi and maybe not. I will include it here as a maybe and let you decide.

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.
Estimate $800-1,200

Seen at http://www.skinnerinc.com/

Sale 2136 Lot 88

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