Clay Stewart Collection of Türkmen Textiles

8. Pair of Ahal Teke Türkmen ak suw to:rba

Ca. 1900. Size: 3 ft. 4 in. x 1 ft. 3 in.

Technical Description

10 x 21 = 210 asymmetrical kpsi, pulled open to the right, resulting in a width height ratio of 1:2, resulting in a medium handle.   Horizontal (even) warps viewed from the back, invisible single weft shoot.  All wool foundation and knots.  No back, never used as a bag.  Top and bottom ends are folded over and sewn under.  It is very rare to see a pair of Ak Suw To:rbas in perfect condition.


Animal trapping, tent decoration.  Apotropaic.  Unknown.


Repeating ak suw gül lattice of repeated gochanak orbs with gurbaghe features. Top end has single minor gyak border to collect and channel star energy.  Main field has repeated diamond pattern border called khamtoz flanked on either side by ala ja stripes.  Ak Su is a town in Chinese Turkestan, possible origin of where the name originates. There was a bridge in the town and the water flowing under it produced white water, therefore ak suw or ‘white water’ in the Türkmen language.  Very little is known about the meaning of the symbols in these pieces.  White background indicates a new house or wedding.


Ahal Oasis, Ahal Teke camp in the second half of the 19th century. West of Ashkabat, southeast of the southern Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan.  This design is woven by other tribes as well like the Imreli Yomout Türkmen and the Saryk Türkmen yet the meaning of the designs is still cloaked in mystery.

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