Türkmen-English Rug Term Glossary
Türkmençe-Iňlisçe Halyça Adalga Söz
By Clay Stewart, San Antonio, Texas, USA © 2007, 2020 | All rights reserved


In an effort to respectfully return certain spellings and definitions of Türkmen rug terms to their rightful domain and with the aim of further standardizing their orthography, I decided early on in this project to compile a Türkmen-English Glossary of old rug terms. It is, indeed, a dangerous business. This glossary in not intended as a scholarly treatise by any means but rather as an open forum of discussion to develop and define my many hypotheses as to the meaning of the many symbols to be found in Türkmen rug ornaments. Part of this involves surveying the current literature and historical references, both printed and oral informant testimony. I syncretize what Ifound interesting if not compelling and present my thoughts without my conclusions misrepresented as fact or or as anything carved in stone, but rather as an serious offering. I also felt it important to attempt to return phonetic individuism to Central Asian Türkmen culture. A return, as it were, to their original un-anglicized words. I had a great deal of help along the way from many sources to whom I owe the following debt of thanks: for many translations, corrected mistransliterations and accurate spellings, I am indebted to Prof. Youssef Azemoun, and for others to Sergai Mouraviev. For many modern literary Téké Türkmen language spellings and definitions, I am indebted to Seyitguly Batyrov individually and to the Turkmen-English Dictionary, an SPA project of the Peace Corps Turkmenistan and more recently to the Dictionary of the Turkic Languages and to the Türkmençe-Iňlisçe Sözlük (Turkmen-English Dictionary). Further insights into the orthography, the historic linguistic and ethnographic background, as well as information on the ethnogenesis of major Türkmen tribes comes from Prof. Mirfatyh Zakiev, Moscow, Russian author of ‘The Origin of Türks and Tatars’. I am also sincerely indebted to Joyce Bell Rush of Callison, South Carolina for her invaluable research assistance, her selfless and unyielding support without which this glossary and this project would not have been possible. In addition, I would like to especially thank Donna Endres of Austin, Texas, a member of the New York Hajji Baba Club, and a lecturer and specialist in antique Oriental rugs, for her editorial advice, her tireless contribution of orthographic research and for the gracious loans of her many valuable research materials. And finally last but by no means least I give my deepest and most sincere thanks to the late Mr. N. A. Sahakian, my dearest friend, mentor and teacher who instilled in me the spirit, mystery and romance of the oriental rug which he would often describe as the "ultimate combination of spirit and craft".  There is one last special thanks I must give to our webmaster, Mr. Scotty Stevenson, of Walking Fossil Studios in Austin, Texas, for his genius, his patience, his expertise in string code and his exemplary professionalism.

Finally, I am both personally and professionally grateful to Volkmar Grantzhorn's ‘The Christian Oriental Carpet’ for extraordinary information on the absorption of Armenian cultural icons into the Türkmen Steppe peoples of western and southeastern Central Asia by means of copying 'hidden' Armenian Christian symbols into their textile's major gö:ls and minor güls, especially by the 19th century Türkmen Oases groups living in the Merv, Pendeh, Tedjend, and Bukhara Oases during their renaissance of reincorporating 'disappeared’ syncretic forms and techniques of Salyr weaving and infusing them into their own southeast Turkmenian Oasis textiles and their designs. These analyses reveal many fascinating opportunities for further study and interpretation by modern rug scholars of the meanings and origins of many Türkmen rug symbols. As in any investigation, I will attempt to follow the facts wherever they may lead. As I am not fluent in either Russian or Türkmen languages I am at the mercy of translators and the subsequent loss of accuracy. It is true that as I have progressed over the last fourteen years in my research I am forced to conclude that all Türkmen symbols that we know today come from pre-Türkmen Central Asian and Major Asian cultures. It is also apparent that this work is only beginning and that we will hopefully come to understand the process that led to so many Türkmen symbols, ornaments, gö:ls and güls that are so misunderstood. My hypothesis is that Türkmen migration for millennia througout the world created groups like the American Indians after coming across the Bering Land Bridge. Moving south tthey became the Central American Maya and further south to create the Incas and others who exhibit Türkmen culture in their weaving art, their language, poems and dances and religions.

Notes on terms:

The Türkmen language is not currently taught (2006) in any universities in the U.S. or in Canada. Cut off from the rest off the world by their remote and isolated location with Russia prohibiting foreign research on the Türkmen material culture after their military subjugation and annexation of Turkmenistan in 1881. This was a lost and unknown culture to the rest of the world. Tsarist’s intrusions followed by the Bolshevik Revolution imposed the communist statism in Turkmenistan that shut down the region. The absence of a written Türkmen language, coupled with the post-Bolshevik Revolutionary party's early depersonalization efforts through state subjugation was aimed at pacifying the Türkmen groups and their culture that eventually led to Lenin personally hiring Enver to subjugate the Türkmen tribes in order to push their railroad through Anatolia. Russian control of the Türkmen was never completely successful because the power of pagan traditions in Türkmen culture still persist today in Ashgabat. By closing the Türkmen territory to outsiders, many of their old textile terms were adulterated by Russians along with more language replacement by Europeans. They replaced many original Old Türkic rug terms with their own modern loan words, phonetic
mistransliterations and erroneous regional spellings or their phonetic equivalent with imposed Western orthography. This has unfortunately been passed into the west’s current carpet literature, resulting in endless misspellings, mis-pronunciations and mis-transliterations of the terms. The recent (1994) adoption of a modern Türkmen literary language uses the Téké and Ýomut dialects as spoken in Ashgabat in the 1920s over all the other Türkmen dialects. Based on different oral traditions in rug terms throughout the Türkmen tribes, this exclusion sadly sets a path to extinction for many Old Türkic rug terms, securing their future as a dead language. All Türkmen dialects should have been included, then collated and cross-referenced, to remove obvious repetitions and isolate endangered Old Türkic rug terms and then restore them to the modern Türkmen literary language. We owe this to the Steppe Peoples of Central Asian Turkmenistan. Throughout the glossary I shall use the word Turkmen or Türkmen to define the term for both the written and unwritten Turkmen language. Even though the Türkmen did not have a written literary language until 1994, they had a living language before that which I refer to as both the Turkmen language then and the modern literary language now.

Notes on Türkmen pronunciation:

ä is pronounced as in dad

c is pronounced the same as a j in English and as in gentlemen

ç is pronounced as in ch in English so çart is pronounced chart

ň is pronounced as in wing

ö is pronounced as in the German or French eu, as in turn

ş is pronounced as in shirt or shoe, so şot is pronounced shot

ü is pronounced as in the German or French u (tune)

ÿ is pronounced as in yes: when a colon occurs after a vowel, indicating a long vowel and long vowels require the pronouncing of short vowels for the duration of two vowels, long or short vowels determine different meanings for the same word.

ý is pronounced as in yet

y is pronounced as in serial

ž is pronounced as in leisure

Note: At the start of the 20th century, when Türkmen started to be written for the first time ever, it used Arabic script. In 1928 the Latin script was adopted. In 1940, Russian influence prompted a switch to the Cyrillic alphabet, and the Turkmen Cyrillic alphabet was created. The current Türkmen alphabet is a variant of the Latin alphabet as used in the Turkish alphabet with some differences.

Türkmen-English Rug Term Glossary

abrash –

An old Turkish word, referring to naturally occurring horizontal striations in rug fields caused by monochromatic color fading, linearly played out into the weave. Abrash first occurs in the outer exposed processed wool yarns wrapped onto skeins, then in the weaving of that yarn into knots and their fresh clipped tips (or the wefting of flat weaves) when they are first exposed to harsh sunlight. This destructive and explosive mechanical action caused by the sun's bleaching (photon bombardment) and oxidation (loosening, expanding) through heat results in a forced expulsion of dye particulate matter from the microscopic wool vacuoles to which it's attached. This causes a subsequent fading of the exposed convex and conical surface of the wool shaft. As the matter is vaporized the follicle returns to its original state of blonde, colorless, un-dyed, clear glass-like follicles. The amount of wool faded varies with the yarn's position and the intensity of weather conditions. Fading clears dye out of the microscopic vacuoles glass-like mantle on the outer part of the follicle which then acts like a lens to refract light rays and magnify the color underneath upward through the lens creating a lighter look to the dyed wool and a softer, more buoyant, hued patina. Depending on the direction the light rays enter the nap's grain it creates the so called light or dark side of a rug. When light goes into the grain it goes under the wool and they bounces up through the dye in the wool and creates a strong expression of that color. This is the dark side. When the light bounces off the wool going away from the grain it picks up on the clear mantle of the wool and turns the color much lighter, actually bouncing off the wool and not shining through the shaft. This is the lighter side. This effect is buoyed by the presence of lanolin, which should always be in the wool. If not then who knows where the wool came from, dead sheep, sick sheep, damaged wool, etc..

Thus, the magnification caused by a sun bleached follicle's new optical device effect magnifies any underlying dye color to the eye and this effect softens any harshness or garnish brightness, and makes the wool glow. Natural fading is the most desirable method of achieving these softer colors and patina. However natural fading varies with the wool, the dyes and the weave. Modern lime and soda immersion treatments attempting to speed up and duplicate this effect but by stripping (burning) the tips off the knots, thus weakening and damaging the wool. Abrash occurs only with natural vegetable dyes as chemical dyes are usually too stable. Natural fading can be a fairly reliable empirical method of determining the presence of vegetable dyes. Dye remaining below the faded wool is almost always the same color when it is expanded through glass like mantle of the sun bleached wool, unless the dye is compound, then if one color fades, it is one color of the compound and the color that remains (usually a different color) is the second. Various scenarios reflect this process. If a chemical wash is used on aniline dyed wool to artificially create age by bleaching there usually is a third color introduced chemically into the wool and though the effect can be dramatic, it looks burned and is different from the natural process of vegetable dyed yarn fade. Abrash can also be woven in, by weaving in either lighter or darker shades of the same color. After skein fading, the second layer of abrash occurs randomly and evenly across the rows of newly clipped knot tips and to a lesser extent in wefts since they receive less light or use. Abrash occurs less when wool's individual genetic characteristics resist fading due to an inherent ability to fix dye to it and when dye particulate matter is attached with a high degree of fastness by expert fixing or loosely dyed due to the incorrect fixing and by mordants of lesser quality. Exceptions are light and water fast dyes like madder, indigo (which coats the wool with a shell) and natural colored wool. Layered abrash, thirdly occurs when the intensity of oxidation, light, heat and friction, control the rate at which particulate dye matter in vegetable dyes is expelled from the wool.

Color fades from the upper convex surface of the yarn leaving a lighter color appearance when the wool is sun bleached. Abrash is caused first where wool is exposed first, which is the outer curved surfaces of the skein yarns and then after the knotting. Depending on the yarn's position and the fastness of its dye, the fading can be delayed. Outermost layers fade first; inner portions of the yarn(s) located in the center of the skein remain protected and their color stays the same until its exposed. After knotting, fading occurs to a much lesser degree at the protected base of the knot. Fading can be increased if the weaver using assorted batches of high and inferior grades of wool, the latter having faded faster. Friction from use strips color from the wool as well. Rugs stored far away from light fade much slower. Tribal and village weavers are isolated with little access to quality mordants and dyes especially in the country side for Anatolian kelims. Looser dyes are woven into some kelims knowing that it will create faster fading colors, creating another layer of art in faded rural textiles. They don't value expensive dyes from the more populated areas and they don’t consider this a defect. They control the art. The word abrash has (humorously?) been suggested (by H. Jacoby) to be a phonetic mis-transliteration of "hair brush".

ae:lem -

in Türkmen, it means death, elem is the mis-spelling. This relates to the life - death continuum symbology in their rugs, where all things come from dirt and return to dirt. Thus, in my opinion it could be that the so called elem is the fore field of a Türkmen camp, represented by the apron of a Türkmen çüwal, and is the sacred dirt that the tribe dwells on e.g., toprak cult. The çüwal, in my theory, is a symbolic diorama of the actual camp setting, but only in two dimensions. This elem is inferred to be the lower world or underworld. So the lower apron could symbolize the ‘underworld’. The çüwal actually depicts the complete tribal setting, including their yearly migration.

Ahal Oasis - Ahal Téké Türkmen

Aḵāl is the Farsi spelling. Akhal is the Russian phonetic attempt and accepted on most 19th century maps from Europe and Russia. Ahal is the Türkmen spelling. The Ahal Oasis is a narrow, arable strip of piedmont land and spring fed oases extending from the south coast of the Caspian Sea eastwards running between the northern slope of the Kopet Dagh Mountains (aka the Persian Mountains) and the Qara Qum (Black Sands) Desert. It extends for about 110 miles, from Kizyl Arvat in the west to the Murghab basin in the east and ending in the Tedjend Oasis. The Ahal Oasis was previously inhabited by Persian irrigation experts long before the Téké Türkmen arrived. The Ahal Oasis’ name existed as far back as the Parthian Dynasty in the 10th century. Before 1881 and the Russian’s conquest of the Ahal Türkmen at the Ahal Oasis there were no towns in either the Ahal Oasis or in the Merv Oasis. It was populated by migrating and settled tribes of Turkomans, Persians and Uzbegs with agriculture and livestock at least for a thousand years. The towns of Kizyl Arvat and Ashkabad only came into existence after the Russian takeover. Previous Türkmen inhabitants of the Ahal Oasis were the Ali-Eli Türkmen in the 16th century, moving to Merv in the second half of the 16th century, along with an Ärsary group (Ref., Y. Bregel map 36A) followed by the Ýomut, Salyr and Saryk during their migrations.

The etymology of the proper place-name Ahal, a toponym, originates from the Farsi (Persian) and Türkmen languages of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. Ahal is the correct Türkmen spelling in contrast with the more phonetic Russian misspelling of 'Akhal'. 'Ak' in Türkmen means white. Ahal’s meaning in Türkmen means 1 n 'pure' or 2 n 'white', if 'ak' is contracted to 'a'. And 'hal' in Türkmen means 1 n condition, state, situation, ergo, Ahal could loosely translate to: 'the white place or the pure place or condition or situation'. In the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the definition of Ahal includes a reference to a mystical interpretation of 'hal', i.e., 'hal' refers to a "spiritual state, or an actual experience of a 'divine encounter’". The definition, then, of 'Akhal' or more precisely Ahal is that of a 'pure and or spiritual place’. Perhaps the Ahal Oasis was named Ahal after the pureness of its spring water or the state of mind created by the mesmerizing light of Ahal’s many spring fed oases with their many springs in stark contrast to the nearby sterile desolate Qara Qum Desert. Richard Wright defines 'Akhal' as 'white water', no doubt referring to the oases' springs, but I think that would be 'ak-suw'.

The toponym Ahal in the proper place name Ahal Oasis existed long before the Téké Türkmens’ arrival. The Téké Türkmens adopted their demonym eponymously adding it to their name to become their new appellation of Ahal Téké Türkmen. Y. Bregel’s 16th century map of the area shows the location of the Türkmen tribes in Khorasan at that time and shows the name Akhal Oasis (Russian spelling) long before the Téké Türkmen. I have seen another facsimile of a 16th century Russian map shown on the internet’s Turkotek Salon, which clearly shows an Akhal Oasis before the Téké. In the 16th and 17th centuries the Ahal Oasis was under Uzbeg rule. (Ref., Encyclopedia Islam) In the 18th and early 19th centuries large numbers of Tékés migrated away from the northeast Caspian Sea’s Mangishlak Peninsula south toward the Ahal and Merv Oases (Ref., L. Clark) located in Turkmenia’s southern oases rim. Less than thirty miles west northwest of where Ashgabat is today was the old walled fortress at Denghil Tépé (the ruins of the old fort at Denghil Depe) commonly shown on most 19th century maps as Gök Dépé (simply meaning ’green' hill or mound, not really a place name of the fort but was absorbed as a popular map place marker). The Ahal Téké Türkmen were then led by Tekme, their Sardar (war leader), and a Türkmen. Shortly after his release from the newly constructed Russian fort at Krasnovodsk on the Caspian Sea’s northeast shore he returned to Gök Dépé where he used all that he learned in captivity while covertly observing the construction of the fort and immediately upon returning refortified his old Denghil fortress, doubling it in strength. When the Russian Army’s General Lomakin advanced his artillery towards their newly strengthened massive earthwork and attacked them inside the stronghold, he was severely repelled. General Skobelev soon replaced Gen. Lomakin under the new sobriquet of Commander of the newly declared "Russian Turkoman District'. In 1881, the Russian Army under General Skobelev (who’s military tactic was to shock the enemy into submission by hitting them very, very hard) laid siege to the Ahal Téké’s fortifications at Gök Tépé (the green walled ruins of an old fortress’ tumulus). One month later Skobelev penetrated their defenses using massive explosives and subterfuge. In the ensuing onslaught the routed Ahal Téké Türkmens were then cut down while fleeing trying to escape to Merv, thus finally accomplishing the long fought for Russian conquest of Central Asia that required more than three hundred years of trying to complete.

Most 19th century Russian maps of Central Asia’s southern oasis rim in Turkmenia, above Gök Tépé, show Denghil Tépé (Russian spelling) or Yengi Sheher (E. O’Donovan spelling in his map). Hypothetically this is the real name of the ancient fort’s ruins at Ahal Oasis, not Gök Dépé, which really only refers a nondescript 'blue hill or mound'. There is pitifully scant information to be found out about Denghil but it appears to be the name of the ancient tumulus found inside the southeast corner of the old Ahal Oasis fort’s ruins, so-called Gök Tépé, which enclosed a square mile or more with mud walls 18 feet thick and 10 feet high on the inside and a 4-foot dry ditch on the outside. Denghil Tépé was the actual name of the Ahal Oasis’ old fort. Denghil in Türkmen means: 'to try' or 'trying', therefore: 'the place of trying or the trying place'. Indeed, it must have been.

In Türkmen dili (grammar), gök means 1n blue and 2 n green, and tépé means 'wall' as in the walled ruins of a city or fortress' mound. On the other hand in Türkmen dépé means top, mound, hill or 'tumulus', which are ubiquitous in the Ahal Oases strip and are usually found covering over ruins of ancient cities and fortifications. Note: The Türkmen considered it unlucky to live on top of someone else’s ruins. In 1869, at the Geok-Tepe (Russian spelling) site of the old fortress’ ruins a new fort was constructed inside the walled ruins of the original fort (called Denghil Dépé) by the Ahal Téké and inside its quadrangle was the ancient tumulus called Denghil Tépé. In the second half of the 19th century it became the Ahal Oasis’ stronghold of the fierce Ahal Téké Türkmen. I use the second meaning of gök as 'green' as I like 'green hill' for the name of the mound rather than 'blue hill'. Green is the most common usage in Türkmen dili of gök even though it is listed as second after the first meaning of 'Gök' as 'blue’ in the Turkmen English Dictionary.

An example of Gök as green is the Gökleng (Türkmen) who were named for the mythical "green hobbler" (where Gök in Gökleng means 2 n green and 'leng' means 1 n hobbler, lame. This legendary 'green hobbler' who destroyed Mecca when it was originally in Turkmenia but was then moved to Saudi Arabia is why the Ýomut hate the Gökleng.

The name Téké (pronounced takka) is the Türkmen word for a 'male goat or ram', whom they, as animal worshippers, revered and venerated its strength and power. These Türkmen pastoralist stockbreeders worshipped their animals for beneficial traits and blessings that they might bestow upon them if they are well appeased. They believed their ancestor’s spirits lived in their animals who were considered to possess souls and often treated markedly better than their own family members. Goat, spelled geçi in Türkmen has the same meaning as Téké. Thus, the Téké were the 'Goat-man' or more specifically the 'Ram Türkmen'. A further extension of this translation would be the ‘White Bearded Ram Türkmen’, which is my hypothesis of a loose translation of ‘Ahal Téké Türkmen, where Ahal means 'white beard' (sakgal is beard in Türkmen) and the 'A' in Ahal could be contracted from 'Ak' as in Akhal (then A and Ak mean 'white' in both cases). The root of sakgal is ak, i.e., white, while aksakgal (ak sakal) in their jargon refers to 1 n a respected man over fifty or 2 n a village elder, an elete elder, both no doubt referring to a 'white beard of an old man' or in the case of the Ahal Téké Türkmen, the white beard of a old dominant ram. Ram is a specific animal totem and the primary ethnonym of the Téké Türkmen tribe. White (ak) is considered very sacred as is any white quadruped, bird, or natural phenomena, including, perhaps, a vanquished tribe’s spirit or the 'sunny fire' of the celestial sun producing a terrestrial fire’s link with 'celestial fire'. Often mis-spelled Tekke, Takka or Tekky, the Téké were one of seven historical Türkmen Central Asian steppe tribes of animal herders in the 19th century specifically in the southern oases rim of Turkmenia and one of the five major 20th century tribes still existing today. The Ahal oasis is the source of their eponymous name. The Ahal Tékés (and Merv Tékés) were populated primarily by the Beg Téké Türkmen tire. Ahal Tékés were one of the few Türkmen tribes that practiced agriculture. More isolated and off of the major trade routes the Ahal Oasis was much more impervious to outsider and Persian influence than the Mervis. The Ahal Tékés prevented Imperial Russia from seizing Turkestan (Turkmenia) for several centuries and they were the very last Türkmen to be defeated by the Russian Army’s annexing Central Asia.

Geok Tepe, inside the fort

Ahal Téké -

Gök Dépé or Tépé was the 19th century stronghold of the Ahal Téké Türkmen tribe located in the Ahal Oasis and source of their eponymous name. The Ahal Tékés were populated primarily by the Beg clan of the Téké Türkmen group. The Ahal Tékés were one of the few Türkmen tribes that practiced agriculture. They also single handedly kept Turkmenia out of the hands of the Russian army for centuries.

Dengli Tepe

19th century English map shows Dengli Tepe next to Goek Tépé in the Ahal Oasis

Also spelled Denghil or Denghill, appears next to Goek Tépé in this map, and in most Russian and Western 19th century maps of the area. Dengli in Türkmen means 'trying' or the 'trying place'. In Türkmen, Tépé means 'a circular wall' or 'walled' as in a walled fort, city or mound where the 'circular wall' is the 'Tépé'. Dépé refers to a raised mound' and Gok (not Goek) means green in Turkmen. Gok Tépé, then, is the Türkmen name for a green mound that’s enclosed by a circular wall and there is such a tumulus in that same area in the east Ahal oasis, which is earthen walled. Dengli was likely the actual name of the old ruined fort, or it’s location, where the 19th century Ahal Teke Türkmen quartered and this is incorrectly referred to as Goek Tépé in the Russians’ 19th century maps, in effect, naming the old fort 'walled green mound'. The actual name of the old fort is Dengli.

Ak Altyn -

white gold, cotton

Ak Öÿ -

White house literally, in Türkmen, a new tent home is said to be an ak öÿ, the dome of which was endowed with supernatural powers. To a Türkmen it represents a smaller sized version or microcosm of what the Türkmen sees all around him. A ornamental composition of seven to:rbas are formed around the flu, their open ends pointing up towards there stars, the öÿ's dome making a circle around the flu. The Türkmen believed that the sky and the Earth are divided into seven layers, each of which is represented by an angel and each angel had a specific influence. These names corresponded to the seven days of the week. The seven borders in a to:rba represent these as well as other forms having ‘seven’ linked to them. The arrangement of them is of importance. It is my opinion that the öÿ's sacred dome hole was used for celestial evocations and incantations. The star's and their positions were accessible through the dome's roof wheel which represents the entrance to the heavenly world or heaven's gate. Star energy was conducted along the star pole (the north pole star is the closest to earth, and the most visible from the north pole) down through the flu into the respective to:rbas, and when collected in each one, thereby harvesting beneficial star energy according their purpose. Blessings for good fortune could occur for good hunting, good crops, abundant fertility, good health, etc.. Their tent was a three-dimensional model of an Ahal Téké Türkmen main gö:l, an octagon, the same form of the tent octagon, and at the roof wheel at the dome's center is a star cross and in the center of it is the sun. These placements were necessary for the Téké Türkmen to navigate the cosmos of potential blessings associated with their star energy harvesting rituals.

ak süw -

Türkmen expression for ‘sweet white water’, ak is white and süw refers to moving water, as in a turbulent spring or flowing river water that breaks into a turgid white water. This seems to be part of the Türkmen water cult and is a totem word i.e., sweet running water.

ak ÿüp -

this is a ceremonial white tent band. White is a sacred color with apotropaic functions and a symbol of status and rank. White ground, embellished ak ÿüps are for such formal occasions as weddings and receptions. White wool is specially selected from all wools and is more valuable and it is also given special significance in other venerated white entities, like camels, cattle, horses or white tents. White signifies the powerful masculine yang life force of sunlight, the provider of life. The male force.

a:la ja, ala ÿüp -

ala (a:la), adj 1 variegated, ala ja (charm), also a plaited rope used to hang the wedding curtain at the rear of the tent and to suspend talismans, composed of two contrasting colored wool strings, usually black and white, plied together, to make one ala ja. The dark/light on/off binary movement effect, in the form of a positive/negative conducting channel, to pulse negative energy and conduct it away from its target. A perfect model of dynamic processes in a straight line.

a:la ja, a:la ja -

n 1 charm, 2 a minor border pattern consisting of diagonally slanted alternating stripes of white and black, repeating in a line and functioning as a conduit for channeling ‘star energy’.

alaman -

Türkmen word for one of their legendary lightening raids.

Payment for heads.

algam -

1 lightning motif, 2 repeated horizontal linked S pattern found in narrow minor guard borders on smaller rugs.

Altyn dépé -

1 Altyn n gold, 2 dépé n hill, mound, ergo: 'gold hill'. A toponym, Altyn Dépé is the location where a 1981 excavation took place in the ruins of an ancient Indo-Iranian Bronze Age settlement that existed in southern Turkestan from 2500-2000 BC and was abandoned around 1600 BC. Altyn Dépé is located about half way along the old trade route between Ashkabat and Merv, and was closer to the east end of the Ahal Oasis and was undoubtedly a potential source for many of the Ahal Téké and Merv Téké Türkmens’ rug symbols’ designs, which were scattered throughout the ruins of Altyn’s Dépé’s on the painted pottery shards’ remnants, with the same geometric red designs as seen in Türkmen textiles’ designs but predating the Türkmen. The Indo-Iranian inhabitants of Altyn Dépé were known for their proto-Zoarasterian Ziggarat and their bull cult, worshipping gold busts of bulls.

animists -

Altaic peoples who believed that non-human entities contained souls

Anahita -

early Central Asian wide belief in the Goddess of Fertility, the female goddess of fertility, her name Anahita and this belief was adopted later by the Türkmen.

anthropomorphize -

when you talk about a thing or an animal as if it were human.

apron -

see elem, ae:lem, the lower skirt or apron (Sahakian) in a Türkmen çüwal represents the lower foreground field of the encampment (author’s opinion) and also the underworld. See ae:lem.

archetypal gö:l -

Each of the five major 18th and 19th century Türkmen tribes had a single hereditary gö:l which is unique only to that tribe and essentially heraldic, historic and symbolic in function. It is possible that these are ancient gö:ls and they reappear over millenia, possibly rediscovered. It is the emblem that identifies them (much like a high school or college insignia combined with colors in American culture or a family crest in Europe) and is theirs alone unless they lose their independence to another tribe, which then has the historical right to use the vanquished tribe's gö:l in their own weaving and to require the vanquished tribe to use the conquering tribe's gö:l in place of the gö:l indigenous to the first tribe originally. There is ample evidence to suggest a recurring design implementation over time; and the reappearance of certain design elements and ornaments throughout ten centuries indicates there was an overall design pool that possibly outdates this period, suggesting an even earlier archetypal (recurring) ‘gö:l pools’ from which all groups, in one way or another, borrow or readapt their designs. This repository was universal and available to any of the tribal groups, as a common and reoccurring archetypal design heritage, who then reappeared themselves, over and over, throughout the length of the cultures; despite certain self-styled ones that were kept to certain tribes only, apart from the others. The designs and their elements were recorded in rugs, textiles or other other cultural remains like pottery shards, coins and wall paintings and were copied from those into the Türkmen rugs.

The Türkmen venerated birth, death, marriage, their animals and certain virtues as shown by their symbols and rituals. They venerated the eternal continuum of life and death, represented by a ‘never ending birth canal’. They are born on a rug, live on a rug, marry on a rug, and die on a rug. The rug’s symbols encode their relationship with the cosmology, depicting their three metaphysical worlds of spiritual and human existence. Each gö:l also represents a male female dyad unit living in an octagonal tent in harmony with each other in a true unity of opposites, and with all the other dyadic units in the tribe. The apron depicts the actual field in front of the encampment or the fore ground and the Türkmen main border shows the path of the sun orbiting around the tribe, light during the day and absence (dark) at night as it travels around the tribe on its yearly journey. The octagon also represents the sun star in the shape of eight point stars. The language of these ornaments is consistent and universal and their symbols are religious and cultic, syncretically borrowed from Judaism, Islamism, Universal Sufi Brotherhood, Buddhism, Shamanism, Paganism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Devil Worshippers (Yazidi), Manicheanism, Pre-Islamic Semetic occult sciences, religions; and are all both totemistic and talismanic and combined with steppe animism.

Their omnistic textiles are filled with a elegant two and three-dimensional symmetry, both in their ornamentation and their structural design. This reflects their inherent need for order, offered in the form of the rug’s portrayal of all the systematic and balanced representations in their relationship with their magical world and in the non-verbal language of this ethnographic codex. They represent the codex in the material culture of their textiles, ornamental jewelry and tents. What they see outside their tents is the macrocosm of their outer world and they systematically codify that world into a cultic and talismanic working model of the causality of that world in which they can gain ritual control over their environment. A tent then becomes, in effect, a three-dimensional gö:l itself, a magical device capable of balancing powerful ritualistic inter-relationships with their surroundings and creating these structured balances throughout an eternity of trial and error that defined those rituals. These tribes must have this balance to coexist in their chaotic world and this is reflected by the remarkable symmetry of the ornamental structure in their textiles and in their tents. The structure of rugs reflect the Türkmen historical view of the cosmos made up from a nonverbal language of symbols that reflect the essence of their being. Tents and rugs are three-dimensional mandalas that work simultaneously, inwardly and outwardly, socially and spiritually, steering them through the dangers of the world through its causal connection to its beneficial effects. (deus ex machina?)

Ärsary Türkmen - or Ar Sary, Arsary, or Ersarï -

(Jürg Rageth), or the western spelling of Ersari. One of the five still intact Türkmen tribes whose anglicized spelling is Ersari, Ersary, Irsari, in our current western literature. One of three large Türkmen tribes in the 19th century Central Asia steppe and one of seven major 19th century historical Türkmen tribes (or one of eight, depending on your expert, and their criteria for selection). ‘Ar’ or ‘er’ translates to ‘man’ in Türkmen and Turkic, and sary is yellow or blonde, thus literally ar sary or ‘yellow man’ or ‘blonde man’. Translated as the ‘Yellow Man Türkmen’ or ‘Aryan Türkmen’ tribe. Also of interest is ‘Ir’, being ‘Ar’ is the suffix for Iran, which is itself a phonetic mis-transliteration of Aryan, again with the ‘Ar’. Also, the ‘Ar’ in Arzeri, another Turkic speaking group, Azeri is a mis-transliteration of Ärsary.. The Ärsary were quartered on the eastern bank of the Amu Darya river area and during the 19th century were under the protection of the Uzbeks and the Khivan Khan, and by cooperating they were spared certain annihilation by the Russian Army during it’s late 19th century invasion, as opposed to their cousins in Gök Tépé and Khiva. Before that, however, more of their commercial rugs appeared at that time in the Bukharan markets than all of the other Türkmen tribes. They immigrated to Afghanistan in the late 19th and early 20th century to escape from Russian pressure. During the 19th century, while located in the Middle Amu Darya are where they wove the largest number of commercial oversized rugs, and many smaller sized rugs, than all the other Türkmen tribes due to the increasing commercial demands of the Khivan, Samarkand and Bukharan markets. Now termed MAD rugs, it was also during this three century period in the MAD that they cross-pollinated their own designs with the other adjoining tribes (e.g., Salyr, Saryk, Arabatchis and Çowdur) located in the same middle reaches of the Amu Darya River (MAD) with all the other tribe’s weavers, creating a great deal of cross-pollinating of designs (chosen from an available design repository that I call the ‘gül pool’), comprised of designs that existed in fragments from past times or remnant rugs left from previous times, unadulterated before more modern adaptations from exposure to new tribes affecting their designs as well, taken from rugs no longer woven, yet still available and copyable. Subgroups of these Ärsary Türkmen include the Kizil Ayak (red foot), Arabatchi, Beshir, (Beshir is Sart dialect for Bukhara and is also the name of a town near Bukhara), and Charshangu. Many of the rugs woven during this period were very large oversized carpets for the domiciles of the region. Ärsary and Azeri are two branches of the Oguz Seljuk line (Seyitguly Batyrov). Both speak Turkic and it is my guess that the two words are the same, and that Azeri is a phonetic mis-transliteration of Ärsary.

aşhyk, ashyk , ashik or ʿās̲h̲iḳ gül -

A small Türkmen rug emblem not seen on large rugs, that are often repeated and enclosed.
As̲h̲ḳ is the Turkic form of the Arab - Persian ʿIs̲h̲ḳ’ or “love”. The word Ashik derives from the Arabic word Asheq, and means the "one who is in love."  Ashik in Persian means "a Turkish bard". It still also means (ʿās̲h̲iḳ) or lover, a term originally applied to popular mystic poets of dervish orders and traveling minstrels. Ashik in Hindi means hope, in Arabic it means love, in Turkish it means love and is spelled aşk and pronounced ashik. An Ashyk torba is a ceremonial Türkmen animal trapping with repeated interconnecting Ashyk medallions that have apotropaic powers (to protect from evil) which are unclear yet repeated for extra power and contained within more power enhancing forms and energy meridian lines in their secondary and primary borders.

An archetypal neolithic emblem of syncretic form adapted into a Türkmen symbol. Phonetically spelled Ashik and lit., in Türkmen, referring to 'sheep knee bone or goat knuckle’ ornaments (Ref., Türkmence-İngilizce Sözlük) that were used as dice in a popular traditional Central Asian Türkmen game called 'astralgali'. This ornamental symbol’s motif is also known as the ‘curled leaf pattern’ and is usually seen as a serrated diamond form with a vine inside, often with three other diamond motifs clustered and surrounded by larger outer half-serrated diamond shaped outline. It’s been postulated that older versions of this design have vines or tendrils that show kinks in them or other variations of line irregularities. The serrated or stepped diamonds are enclosed by larger half-serrated diamond outlines, thus four individual serrated diamonds within an enclosed outer serrated diamond. One Russian ethnographer suggests that perhaps the ashik ornament represents archaic grape leaves or clusters and therefore is an agrarian totem. Most often it’s found in the inverted U-shaped decorative, pile weavings of the Téké Türkmens’ gapylyks or kapunuks and ‘baby’ khallyks (a kapunuk for small animals) and, less often, in their ceremonial to:rba sized animal and tent trappings. Also called the dogajik gö:l. In addition it is called (Ref., E. Tsareva) the 'ovadan-gyra', which, as she says, is commonly known by the European-invented term, the so-called ‘curled-leaf’ pattern. This could point to a pre-Türkmen genesis for the ‘grape cluster’ pattern with the Little Balkhan Mountains as the likely place of the early viticulture, ultimately resulting in this agrarian toponym grape cluster emblem, possibly from the 16th century, or a thousand years before.

aşhyk to:rba -

small slender rectangular bag used as a ceremonial animal trapping with the primary Aşhyk gül based on quadruped knucklebones from the goat used for millennia to play a game called astragali. Aşhyk ornaments are placed inside squares to enhance their power and are repeated, also increasing their power. The primary Aşhyk gül is also referred to as a dogajik gül.

asylmak -

v to be hung, or be on. The current western spelling is asmalyk. In the modern Türkmençe-Iňlisçe Sözlük (Turkmen-English Dictionary) it is spelled Asylmak. Note: An asmalyk, in the Türkmen language, is "a thing to be hung, or suspended”, as a decorative textile and ceremonial apotropaic animal trapping hung on the lead wedding camel’s flank in a Türkmen wedding procession. Asmalyks may be a piled or embroidered flat weave, and are usually five-sided, but occasionally are seven-sided. Ýomut asmalyks are the most commonly found, followed by those of the Téké. Asmalyks were usually made in pairs to decorate both flanks of a bride's wedding camel, and were then hung in her domed, felt-covered öÿ, in the women’s section, in the rear.

Astragali -

term for carved quadruped knuckle bones and were an essential part of many ancient games of Central Asia using these dice like objects. One was played using four astragali with different values on each side indicated by lead studs. Another variant involved five astragali, simultaneously thrown into the air to be caught on the back of the hand. The knuckle bones were carved and then drilled with holes that were filled with lead, perhaps the precursor of dice.

atanak -

Türkmen for cross, this being the archetypal Armenian Christian symbol of a double cruciform even though the cross itself predates Christianity. Armenian for cross is ‘hatchli’ or ‘katchli’.

Aÿna Gö:l -

Aÿna means mirror, glass, in Türkmen, it is often anglicized and spelled Aina, and refers to a small rectangular box shaped enclosure with variants of aÿna güls inside, e.g., aÿna gochak gül, aÿna khamtoz gül, and the classic aÿna gül which is also called the mirror gül, appearing usually in small Türkmen rugs, bags, etc.. An aÿna to:rba is a mirror bag for feminine possessions (including mirrors) or attached to her bridal litter as a defensive trapping, complete with the apotropaic significance of the evil deflecting power of a mirror, for the new bride. See phylactic.

Aÿna Kalta -

or sumka, (Téké dialect), or ‘mirror bag’, when used for mirrors, or as a protective bridal litter trapping; Note: nomad men in the Türkmen tent were not allowed to use mirrors, they had to go outside of the tent if they wished to use a mirror, it was a privilege reserved for women only (oral tradition), mirrors were considered too powerful for men.

ayätlyk -

Ayätlyk, another Türkmen term for funerary rug, ayät = memorial ceremony, lyk = a thing for. Sizes vary according to whether a child, adult or an entire family is buried and then each rug is left on the grave, larger rugs covered several graves. Some Turks wrapped up their dead and hung their bodies from trees, thus the tree of life totem. Trees are a point of disembarkation for birds to carry Türkmen souls to heaven or a more chthonic end. One English lady in 1860’s Central Asia, described seeing a Türkmen cemetery where the graves were all covered in red rugs.

Azerbaýjan -

A:zerbaýja:n n Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani, Azeri. Lit.,: “Land of Fire” (natural gas ground vents that ignite and burn are ubiquitous in Azerbaijan). Azeri is another mis-translation of Ar-Sary and Turkic is the language spoken in Azeri Caucasia, close to the Azerbaijan border, whose people speak Azeri, one of the eight Turkic languages. It is easy to understand where Persian fire cults originated.

Bactria -

pre-sixth century kingdom located in the Transoxianan territory in Central Asia which was located east of the Oxus (Amu Darya) river, west of the Sry Darya River and south to northern Afghanistan. Now nearly extinct the Bactrian Camel is an eponym

Bactrian camel -

double humped camel, indigenous to Central Asia, now nearly extinct.

barmak -

Türkmen for finger, gilin barmak motif called the bride’s or bridal fingers motif.

Bogolybubov, A. A., Gen. -

Tsarist military Governor of the Transcaspian region from 1880-1901 and subjugated the major Türkmen tribes, especially the Téké, collecting examples of all their weaving which he catalogued into the first major work on Türkmen weaving i.e., ‘The Carpets of Central Asia’. Upon returning to Russia he presented these (144 textiles) to Tsar Nicholas which now comprise much of the Russian museum’s collections.

bovrek -

Bow and arrow symbol, Türkmen for ‘bud’, used in Engsis’ borders.

Çemçe gö:l -

according to the Türkmençe-iňlisçe sözlük (Turkmen-English Dictionary) since there is a cedilla attached under the ‘c’ it is not pronounced with a soft ‘c’ as in ‘shem she’ but instead as a hard ‘c’ as in chem chee. The Anglicized phonetic attempt at pronunciation is spelled and pronounced phonetically as chemche and is a Türkmen word for spoon; a Çemçe To:rba is a ‘bag for spoons’, also it also refers to the minor secondary gül in a Téké Türkmen main carpet, and to a common minor emblem in many other small rugs, bags, and trappings, etc.. It is essentially a Greek cross with Gochak motifs at the ends (revering the female goddess cult and the fertility symbol of rams horns with four oblique arms radiating out from the center in the form of an overlaid X without Gochak motifs on the tips showing a quartered cruciform overlaid by an X cross representing the ‘four’ totem twice, the inner form of gö:l's center indicating the four seasons: Earth, Air, Fire and Water cults, and twice combined represents the sun star without the outer octagonal outline (reference ‘The Christian Oriental Carpet’), thus the minor form. This design is ascribed to the Armenian Greek cross when shown as a Gochak cross (cross with ram’s horns on four ends). This emblem appears to have had Caucasian influence.

charky palek gül -

Sogdian star burst medallion, charky translates ‘spinning wheel’ or ‘wheel of fortune’ or ‘cross-wheel of Heavens’, a secondary emblem in Türkmen cüwals and Türkmen ha:lyk borders, that are often placed inside shelpe octagons (lit. jewelry pendants) these güls were represented in a form of eight eight-point stars with a cross-shaped ornament in it’s center, inside a octagonal box. Türkmen believed that circles, rhombs, and crosses placed within squares were sacred and acceptable Koranic magic. These more simple forms were created in Neolithic art and passed on. Star based motifs came later as star worship increased in Central Asia cultures. The early pre-Christian cross was a symbol for Sun-fire. The eight facets of a star cross, placed in a horizontal diamond form, surrounding a single gochanak tippped eight- point star. This shiny depiction of the eight pointed star is placed on top of every Türkmen’s skull cap without exception for gender or age to connect each of those individuals to the cosmos. They truly considered themselves 'star’ people. Charkh is Türkmen for loom or spinning wheel. The literal translation of Charky Palek is ‘wheel for raising water’. Other colloquial translations are ‘lucky star’, ’fate’, 'fortune’ and ‘kismet’. Another name for this emblem is the ‘sagdak’ gül (sagdaq is the phonetic mis-transliteration of Sogdian). The to:rba’s minor border ornaments such as darak, tekbent, naldag, and charky palek are all variations of the cross and sun star variant (Ref. The Christian Oriental Carpet). Repetitions of these ornaments in guard borders next to rows of alternating colors (red, dark red and orange) all connect to ancient Persian fire worshipping rituals in their ancient stone temples of 15 foot arched vaults where they continuously maintained purifying fires and were part of the Zoroasterian fire cult. Fire was worshiped in ancient Central Asia as one of the 'four primary elements', i.e., earth, air, fire and water. The ancient worship of fire was probably one of the first things to be worshipped next to the Sun and Moon by early man.

chyrpy -

anglicized spelling is cherpi or chirpi, n., a Téké woman's cloak, usually with two sleeves sewn back and worn like a cape over their head. Color coded to rank a woman's age and status: yashl (green for eternal fertility) for younger women, sary (yellow for good blessings and continuity in life) for middle age women and ak (white is sacred) for older women. Black ones are also for young women. Many colors are used in Türkmen cloth and clothes, each warding off specific evil spirits as well as the stripes in men's clothes which were channeling devices and deceiving evil energy, conducts it along the stripe and evil goes right off the man, with an immediate purifying effect,. as sins flow off along the stripes and evil is channeled away from the wearer of blue stripes, reversing evil spells. Two color braided wool straps, plaited black and white symbolizing the life and death continuum and called ala ja, were talismanic and and energy channelers often used in the tent. One of the primary colors used to ward off evil is blue which is considered to belong to Satan or Malek Taus, so it works when he comes by, if he sees blue, he'll think that evil (him) is already there and will move on. (Yazidi, ‘devil worshipers’).

Cultural syncretism -

occurs when distinct aspects of different cultures blend together to make something new and unique. Since culture is a wide category, this blending can come in the form of religious practices, architecture, philosophy, recreation, and even food.

Çowdur Türkmen -

Choudor was the third son of Kok Khan, who in turn was the fourth son of Oghuz Khan, making the Çowdur direct descendants of the original Türkmen tribe. The Choudor lived in the northeast shore of the Caspian Sea a millennia ago. Arab historian Abul Ghazi tells us they arrived in Mangyshlaq peninsula as early as the 11th century. The Çowdur Türkmen were one of the seven major Türkmen tribes of the 19th century and was the most northern of the Türkmen tribes. Due to political pressure in the early 19th century they fled from the Manqyshlaq Peninsula and Old Khwarezm to the east and southeast settling along both banks of the middle reaches of the Amu Darya river, coexisting there with the Salyrs, the Saryks and the Ärsary, all under the patronage of the Bukhara Khan. 19th century Çowdur rugs were known as ‘Black Bukharas’ for their darker color palette. This was an unusual color for Türkmen rugs and thought to be borowed from the Uzbegs. The Çowdur were located in Old Khwarezm on the eastern bank of the Caspian Sea, above the Kara Kum desert and south of the Aral Sea in northern Caucasia (they are related to the Trukhmen). The Anglicized spelling is Chodor or Chodur in current carpet literature. Towuk Nusga was the major or primary gö:l in their main carpets (in Türkmen towuk is hen and nusga is pattern).

cult -

refers to a sect or symbolic group practicing ritual belief in the veneration of natural phenomena of powerful life forces encountered and revered for that power and courted for it's favorable influence (both good and bad) e.g., animal, plant, water, earth, fire, and the fertility cults, etc.; e.g., in the past Türkmen threw some of their food into a fire before eating it to protect it and revered the sun as the giver of all life and the female goddess in all women (eli beli ende or woman with hands on hips i.e., the birthing position) as the bearer of all children (the ubiquitous fertility cult or the female goddess totem).


n Farsi, it means ‘bedding bag’. In Türkmen it means ‘flour sack’ or a double saddlebag, pocket or pouch, that hangs on a camel and then hangs in the öÿ, or is a unit for measuring flour, grain, etc. It refers mostly to the largest size of a a Türkmen camel bag, usually made in pairs as two single bags, and as such were woven separately as single large envelope or pouch type bags, averaging about three to four plus feet by five to seven plus feet, larger ones came from the Ärsary. The çüwals usually have a piled face though some were compounded flat weaves, each of which displayed the various indigenous adaptations of loan symbols borrowed from other tribes, at different times, along with the ‘dead’ or lost symbols, borrowed from many pre-Türkmen Central Asian, Asia Minor and Asia Major cultures as well. The çüwal’s back is usually not knotted but rather flat woven, presumably so that it won’t wear knots out against the camel’s rough hide. Literally, in Türkmen, çüwal means a sack to store flour. It’s main use is for transporting items on caravans and then when settled, it’s hung inside the tent to be used for various domestic storage, like bedding. The Anglicized spelling is chuval or chuwal or cuwal. Since the cedilla is attached under the ‘c’ it is pronounced ‘shoe val’ not ‘choo val’. The çüwal’s gül design is often a compressed version of the main carpet’s primary gö:l. Both rugs are dioramas of their outer three dimensional world, but compressed into two dimensions when viewed from above (Stewart). Çüwals all have a major or primary ornament known as the primary 'gül’ and a secondary or minor ornament called an 'emblem’ (my stipulated term). Çüwal’s primary gül’s, over time, can also appear in other çüwals, and vice versa, where each acts as a sort of repository for all the other tribe’s 'dead’ gö:ls (like Salyr ‘dead’ gö:ls) from vanquished or disappeared tribes, who no longer exist or who can no longer support or defend their heretofore primary hereditary gö:l. The restrictions governing the use of another tribe’s ‘dead’ or lost gö:ls are more lenient with çüwals than with main carpets, so over the centuries çüwals became a sort of repository for dead, disappeared, or redesigned gö:ls, thus keeping them alive by chronicling them.

Çüwal Gö:l -

Also known as the classic aÿna gül, or to:rba gül, or Salyr gül, and is a flattened, compressed version of the primary tall Téké gö:l. The çüwal gö:l is really a gül used mostly in many tribes to:rbas and çüwals.

dara -

Türkmen for comb, darak, often depicted in the geometric form of a pyramid with four legs.

daghdan -

is an amulet (Moshkova). Ponomarev (Azadi) translates it as mountainous area. The minor border pattern resembles an hourglass placed on its side and repeated.

Dari -

Persian, Farsi language variant spoken in Afghanistan.

Dépé -

mound, hill, tumulus. Usually lying in the Turkestani deserts where most ruins are buried under the sand and often these form large mounds after vegetation grows. A dépé can have a wall around it as well so it can be a dépé and a tépé and it seems as if both words can apply to one situation. Gok dépé can also be gok tépé and often is shown that way on maps, some with dépé and some with tépé but could also be gok dépé tépé i.e., a green mound that has a ancient wall around it as well.

derýa -

n river, Amy Derýa in Türkmen, Amyderýa trans: Amu River, common error: Amu Darya River which, technically, is Amu River River. Located in Central Asia and emptying into the Aral Sea. Latin name is Oxus river. Amu is named for the medieval Central Asian town of Amul.

dichotomous -

dividing or branching always into two parts, binary, nomadic societies are dichotomous.

doga -

n 1 amulet, talisman. The mullah gave me an amulet to wear in order to protect me from danger 2 prayer 3 charm, spell, doga etmek, to charm, put a spell on someone or some thing, lit. means “prayer” (in the ‘Dictionary of Turkic Languages’) in Türkmen. See dogajik, which is a second name for the primary Ashyk gül.

dogajik -

a thing for prayer, also dogalyk: doga refers to the palm of the hand as in a prayer, often depicted as a pyramid with legs, also a talisman carried in a tiny amulet bag (Ponomarev). The dogajik shape of a pyramid is often used in jewelry. Repeated dogajiks(lyks) occur in minor, narrow, Türkmen guard borders, it also depicts an agrarian totem, called the Aşhyk Gö:l, more correctly it is the Aşhyk primary gül and is woven primarily by the Ýomut on their asmalyks. Another name for the Aşhyk emblem is the so called ‘curled leaf pattern’, a possible grape cluster, inferring viticulture and is an agrarian totem (Tsareva). Note: It seems as if there are two different meanings for dogajiks in the current literature where one is a talismanic or amulet design repeated in minor borders often in the shape of horizontal isosceles triangles, and the other is another term for the Aşhyk primary gül in the Aşhyk to:rba.

dozar -

trade term referring to a rug the size of two zars or about 41 inches each, so 41 times two (do) is 82 inches or about 6 feet 10 inches, thus a dozar, which is two zars in length, is around a four plus by seven foot rug.

dromedary -

Single humped camel used for caravan transport and for their soft fleece, refers to its soft, less crimped, cashmere, or body wool under their belly, arms, axilla and underneath its outer layer of coarser, tougher, curly (crimpier) wool that is often used in weaving for Türkmen textiles, where the nomad men shear the wool and the women weave the rugs. In Kazakhstan, a pretty woman is called a ‘dromedary’.

dumba -

Central Asian fat tail sheep wool used for weaving, soft, lustrous, fluffy knots.

düÿe dyzlyk -

pair of camel knee covers to protect it’s sacred knees when kneeling down from any evil on the ground, a ceremonial decoration, düÿe = camel, dyz = knee and lyk = a thing for, thus 'a thing for the camel knees. Used on the lead camel in a ceremonial wedding procession protecting the bride's (gelin's) camel and the bride herself and therefore apotropaic powers are ascribed to it. They keep the camel’s knees pure when he kneels down and his knees touch the ground they are covered to defend them against evil. There were also camels ankle bracelets woven from the camel’s eyelashes.

düÿe khallyk -

a camel collar used in the wedding caravan’s lead camel, they are U-shaped and come in two sizes, large and small, smaller ones were for smaller animals, child sized ones. Talismanic ornaments attached to the fringe were used to protect the new bride from all evil. See khallyk.

duz -

du:z n salt, carried in a small bag, du:z kalta (salt bag) du:z sumka, du:z kap, also salt bags.

dyrnak -

n. Turk, claw, talon.

Dyrnak gö:l -

one of two heraldic primary gö:ls used in Ýomut main carpets. Represented by a hooked, horizontally flattened diamond lozenge, on the outside and various elements found inside its center. From dyrnak (Turk. claw, R. Pinner). Thought by some to emanate through the influence of Caucasian loan symbols.

elem -

phonetically mis-spelled Arabic word widely used in both Türkic and Persian languages and means sorrow, or death. Widely used in current carpet literature to denote the lower apron or skirt of the Türkmen cüwal, engsi or main rug. See ae:lem.

endonym -

is the name for a place, site or location in the language of the people who live there. In contrast, a locally used toponym—i e, as opposed to a name given to them by others—is called an endonym (or autonym) or a name used by a group of people to refer to themselves or their region (as For example, Köln is a German endonym while Cologne is the English exonym for Köln. (ref., Thought Co, internet)

Ensi -

engsi- (‘en’ is Turkic for width, Pinner), is a door sized rug covering the öÿ’s entrance, often quartered with a niche at the top and an ae:lem at the bottom and fastening loops, and is the primary door enclosure for the öÿ’s entrance. Often called katchli or hatchli (which is the old Armenian word for cross), this quartered and compartmented field design refers to the ancient four-principle cult and the three horizontal partitioned sections refer to the three shamanistic life levels of the Upper World Universe (the upper or cosmic level), the Middle Kingdom (earth and man), and the lower cathonic level (zarmin), i.e., hell, underworld. The ensi’s face was usually turned inward, facing inside the öÿ. There are only a few photographs from the 19th century showing an engsi actually being used in the field.

endo-ethnonyms -

what name certain peoples call themselves.

eponym -

An ethnonym is a name applied to a given ethnic group, either by another group, or by themselves. It may be a tribal name, a name given to a specific ethnic group, a geographical name, or a place name derived from a topographical feature. (ethnonym, ethnic).

eponymous -

adjective. The definition of eponymous is something or someone that gives its name to something else.

Ersari -

phonetic mistransliteration of the major Türkmen tribe’s name. See Ar Sare, (also Arsary, Azeri), should be Ärsary.

ethnonym -

An ethnonym is a name applied to a given ethnic group, either by another group, or by themselves.

ethnogenisis -

"the formation and development of an ethnic group." This can originate through a process of self-identification as well as come about as the result of outside identification.

exo-ethnonyms -

what name those certain peoples (tribal societies) are called by their neighbors.

eyerlyk -

in Türkmen ‘eyer’ means saddle and lyk means a thing for, so a ‘thing for the saddle’ i.e., saddle cover for the horse, also for the camel, but not the saddle itself.

Gabsa gö:l -

often referred to as a Kepse gö:l. Second of two primary Ýomut gö:ls depicted in their Main Carpet (ha:lyk).

gapyrga -

rib - tree like or ribbed, opposing serrated branches, usually attached to a gyak pole and found in the lower elem (apron or skirt) of a çüwal or a hatchli. This motif reflects archetypal Türkmen nomadic weaving traditions (Tsareva). It could easily depict flowers or trees in the fore field of the encampment and is connected to both the ‘tree of life’ motif and as an agrarian totem.

gapylyk -

Türkmen word for ceremonial trapping, commonly spelled kapunuk. Literally gapy = door, lyk = a thing, therefore: a thing for the door (in Türkmen). A knotted, upside down, U-shaped textile, with tassels and fastening ropes; a decorative piece unique to the Türkmen and hung inside the tent's doorway. They are also used in the wedding procession to decorate the ‘kejebe' or bridal litter and then placed in the new bride’s father in law’s tent.

geçi –

Türkmen word for a male ram, and a mis-transliteration of Téké, which is the same word as geçi, just spelled differently, but means the same which explains the ubiquitous rams horns in Türkmen designs.

gelin barmak –

gelin n. bride and barmak n. finger, v. to go, to head in a direction, also warning evil to ‘get out, go away’, and ‘mind your own business’. Gelin barmak or ’bridal fingers’ is depicted in Türkmen minor guard border symbols as repeated pentagonal apexed pyramids with three straight sides in outer guard borders surrounding the çüwal that form a sort of electric fence producing a line of energy or protective force surrounding whoever is sitting in the center of the rug,

gochanak –

often misspelled as Kochanak or Kochak it refers to a diamond with double ram's horn motif and is a protective device for the female goddess, new brides and the fertility cult. Ultimately it is a ancient Hindu fertility cult symbol (birth symbol) and is often shown in a repeating sequence of the motif in borders of wedding dowry textiles. This repeated design is a sort of mantra, and gains power when it is repeated, thus becoming an incantation which creates far more potency than just the spell. Double gochanak designs found repeated in the minor borders and Aÿna gochanak are the same, but in a Aÿna gochanak, the gül is put in a rectangular small box that is repeated, usually in the field borders of a bag or a to:rba.

Gök Tépé –

misnomer, adjacent to Denghil Tépé (the actual name for the Ahal oasis which means 'the trying place', lit.. In this case, Gök means 'green' and Tépé means walled, so a 'walled green mound’, where Tépé refers to a 'wall' around a city’, a fortress or simply a green mound. The so called old fortress at Gök Tépé is a circular walled mound turned into a fortification. It's spelled Geok Tepe (Russian spelling) in current western literature. This is the mid-19th century Central Asian home and stronghold of the Ahal Téké Türkmen. The 'First Battle of Gök Tépé' took place in 1879 when the Russian General A. Lomakin’s artillery attack failed and he was forcibly repelled by the Ahal Téké. The 'Second Battle of Gök Tépé' occurred in 1881 when Lomakin’s replacement Gen. Skobolev, ruthlessly deployed his sanguinary conquest of the Türkmen. There are two Gök Tépés on some maps, one northwest of Ashkabat in the Ahal Oasis and one to the south. The incorrect name Goek Tepe has been grandfathered into western literature even though its real name should be Denghill Tépé which was the original fort’s name and the Ahal Oasis was called this. "Skrine says that fort enclosed a square mile or more, with mud walls 18 feet thick and 10 feet high on the inside and a 4-foot dry ditch on the outside, although other dimensions are given. The area was part of the Akhal Oasis where streams coming down from the Kopet Dagh support irrigation agriculture." (Ref., Wikipedia)

Gökleň –

Gö:kleng, Goklan, A Turcoman tribe of Iran that are not actually Türkmen. In the 18th century, they were displaced and then assimilated into the Western Ýomut Türkmen, as a sub-tribe they were specifically located adjacent to the Western Ýomut Türkmen, in northwest Persian Turkestan, by the Gorgan river, in the second half of the 19th century and they were known for their sericulture and sheep herding. There are whole tribes, as, for example, the Kelte race among the Gorgen Ýomuts, which are generally half blonde. The Ýomut of Iran have six branches. They live in central and eastern Türkmen Sahra. Much of the Gökleň weaving is misidentified as Ýomut who are their neighbors to the west and their sworn enemies. Eventually they were forcibly subjugated post Russian incursions into the area in the late 19th century. "The Turkomans recounted, with respect to the ruins (Atrek River area in Persian Khorasan where the Gökleň lived), that God, from a special love to the brave Turkomans, had placed the Kaaba first here instead of transporting it to Arabia, but that a green devil, who was at the same time lame, named Gökleng (green hobbler) from whom the Göklens were descended, had destroyed it. The insolent act of their ancestor is the reason, added the savage etymologist, why we live in hostility with that tribe." Armenius Vambery

gol –

Türkmen n ball, arm, hand, signature

göl, gö:l –

Most Türkmen gö:ls are quartered roundels. Gö:ls are primary Türkmen historical tribal tamghas. When referring to rugs only and spelled with a ‘g’, gö:l means 'lake’ in the Türkmen lexicon, when not referring to rugs, the word lake is spelled with a ‘k’ as in kö:l; a water cult and totem, connected to the sacred earth (toprak) topynym, an agrarian totem (Tsareva’s term) and the eternal life/death continuum philosophy (toprak in both Türkmen and Farsi means tomb) and this idea is associated with all the rug’s symbols, see guş gö:l. It is my opinion that the Türkmen’s original primary gö:l was carried west to Central Asia by ancient Türkmen tribes contrary to discovering it in Turkmenia when they arrived even though Sogdian silk textiles have roundels in them It is also my opinion that the original motif came from ancient China but was modified later by the incorporating animist totems from the Altaic Türkmen and those totems were then venerated a millennia ago in Central Asia's Rum civilization after they arrived in the area in the 11th century.

gö:l –

in modern Türkmen n carpet pattern

goÿun –

sheep in Türkmen.

göz –

n. eye, of the evil eye.

göz-dil –

n the evil eye, ‘göz-dilden saklamak’: to protect someone against or from the evil eye. ‘Dil’ means evil in Türkmen. A magical talisman such as this is called an ‘eye cracker’ because it can ‘crack’ an evil eye by deflecting its evil power back into the evil eye itself, thus breaking it.

gul –

Türkmen n arm, signature. Persian n lake, Farsi, n slave, servant (ref., internet Türkmen English Webonary). Pronounced 'gull' as in seagull. Turkish n flower. Also in Persian it refers to a minor emblem pattern in small rugs.

gül –

Türkmen n flower, Dari and Tajik the pronounced 'gool', this word in Farsi is gol; also the Persian word gul is pronounced in Türkmen as gül which means flower and when referring to rugs cannot be changed to gö:l (lake), nor can it be replaced by the non-rug word in Türkmen for lake which is kö:l. Different spellings of the same word or even different words depend on the use, especially in the Türkmen language.

gülli gül, gulli gul

a large round archetypal Türkmen gö:l, like all others consists of a quartered octagon, where each quarter contains three cloverleaf motifs (replacing the three arrows of the Téké primary gö:l) and resembling the 'clubs’ suite in playing cards. This is the traditional emblem of the Ärsary Türkmen, borrowed from the Salyr and the Saryk. 'Gülli gül' appears to be a misnomer for this variant of a Türkmen primary gö:l or at least an orthographic issue. The Türkmen gül is a minor or secondary emblem to the major or primary Türkmen gö:l. Gülli gül - Türkmen "flowery flower", which the Türkmen would consider redundant and therefore improper.

gurbaga gü:l –

predominate minor or secondary gül used in Téké Main Carpets, gurbaga is the Türkmen word for frog. It is actually a basic Greek cruciform in appearance with a star cross overlay and in no way resembles the amphibian. Animal totem. Animal names reflect the steppe animism of the Türkmen.

guş –

Türkmen n bird, an animal totem, often mis-transliterated as gush, gushly, or gushli.

gushly gul –

this is a misnomer for guş gö:l or 'bird lake' ornament or 'lake with birds', guş or bird in Türkmeni dili is an important animal toponym and gö:l or lake in Türkmen is an important agrarian toponym.

guş gül -

in Türkmeni dili the name bird flower is incorrect and instead a Téké Türkmen main carpet ornament is called the guş gö:l or 'bird lake' ornament. There are no minor emblems in Türkmen weaving called 'bird' and in Türkmen ornamentation 'gül' always refers to a minor or secondary emblem.

guş gö:l –

Türkmen guş n bird, gö:l n lake, both toponyms. This is the historical primary gö:l of the Téké Türkmen tribe and the eponymous name 'bird lake' for an ancient emblem used in Téké Türkmen ha:lyks as their traditional heraldic and identifying tamgha. The actual term guş gö:l or 'bird lake', guş being bird and gö:l being lake, reflect the Türkmen penchant for simple names. Remember they had no written language. These are a bird totem and a water agrarian totem (water is a cult in Asia). In the many layers of Türkmen symbology, the bird signifies both supernatural and vital predatory skills that they adopt to create the protection that comes to each Türkmen who emulate their venerated animal and bird spirits and their pagan pantheism. These fierce and empowering symbols are simultaneously syncretized. There appears such misspelled variants as gushli or gushly in current literature, meaning 'birdly'? To the Türkmen, a 'gushli gul' would mean 'a birdly flower’ which is nonsensical. The guş gö:l is a quartered eight-lobed octagon with various centers and in each quarter there are three three-lobed 'clover leaf' motifs (resembling the playing cards suit of clubs) instead of the primary or major Téké main gö:l with three arrows in each quarter. This design is frequently seen in the late 19th and early 20th century Ärsary Türkmen rugs of northern Afghanistan in the town of Charshanga and which is also an Ärsary sub-tribe.

güza –

Türkmen word for cotton (Western Turkistan), also gowaça and pagta.

gyak –

Turkic word for ‘diagonal path’ (Ponomarev), also means a charm, and resembles a diagonally striped barber pole. Metaphysically, I suggest this is a conductive bi-nary energy channeler caused by dark/light quantum energy activators, the kinetic stored energy in it’s on-off patterns, positive then negative, black/white (energy flows from areas of higher concentration into areas of lower concentration of energy, i.e., nature abhors a vacuum) so a slanted black line next to a slanted white line creates that kinetic movement, from white flowing as good into black as the absence of light energy or negative energy, repeating this progression, as perpetual motion conducts star energy towards it’s polar opposite, the resulting positive energy is channeled toward the bride and the evil is caught by distraction then led away from the bride, amplified by the changing colors of the sun and of fire as additional activators.

gyz –

Téké dialect term for both bride and girl, see gelin, kejebe.

halyça –

Halyça – pronounced ‘haly sha’ in the Téké dialect, it is another spelling for the main carpet, and the Türkmen spelling of ‘rug’, also spelled hali, in current carpet literature, also ha:lyk is the word for Main Carpet. See ha:lyk.

ha:lyk –

correct Türkmen spelling of hali or haly and refers to one of their Main Carpets.

hatchli, katchli –

(also engsi) - hatchli is the old Armenian word for ‘cross’ and the old Indo-European word for ‘cruciform’.  Referring to it's center's 'cross' design, the hatchli is the Cartesian quadranted Türkmen öÿ’s suspended door rug.  The word hatchli especially denotes the early Christian 'cross of victory'.  It's design symbolizes the ancient principle of 'four', a pre-Christian, possibly Asian, religious practice based on an ancient  'four–way cross’ divided pattern, representing a very early pre-Türkmen four-way cosmological view, as in the four seasons or the four points of a compass.  Symbolizing ancient Altaic Türkmen shamanist paradigms are three horizontally partitioned sections or panels in it's design that represent the three ‘superimposed’ shamanic life levels of (1) the Upper World Universe (the upper or cosmic level, ‘the space above the earth'), (2) the Middle Kingdom of earth, man, animals and plants, and (3) the so-called elem or bottom panel which represents the space below the earth, the lower cathonic region (zarmin in Farsi), i.e., hell, or underworld.  There are a few 19th century photographs that give proof of the use of engsis to decorate a tent's entrance as well as etchings that show it's use, but there are also many etchings and photos that show no engsis being used.  There's also a remarkable similarity between a hatchli's design with it's three horizontal panels and typical niche at the top of its cross, and the dome or niche of a Chinese inscribed 6th century Nestorian Middle Kingdom tablet (ref. H.M. Raphaelian and his Middle Kingdom ascription to the engsi’s design, it's four quadrants and it's vertical 'tree of life' axis in the cross existing in all the three levels of existence: heaven, earth and hell, represented by the three panels.  The engsi’s upper 'niche' has also been thought to symbolize a bride's litter or 'kejebe' motif, as in a kejebelyk, rather than the common prayer niche attribution.  The design of the engsi allows for it's use as a portal or pathway to another ‘world’, wherein divinations evoked return beneficial energy back to the querent in this world.  I have always thought of the major borders of old real rugs as window frames through which one can see another world, a passageway to another dimension, with spirit escorts awaiting inside, activated by the hatchli's magic symbols that seem to be selected for their ability to make the rug work, that is to open the portal and return the benefits.  Another example of mystical Islam's influence on original Türkmen rug design where a rug's major border symbolizes a metaphysical picture's frame through which you can actually see paradise, the border or picture frame being the departure 'gateway to paradise', which is also found in the mystical center point of a Persian garden.  Early Salyr small rugs often depict unusually esoteric images of Türkmen field ornaments as appearing to be heavenly orbs, floating in the evening sky.  Other constellations too, perhaps?   Engsis (hatchlis) are suspended by a loop on each top corner attaching it to an öÿ’s opening.  The hatchli serves a confluence of symbolic purposes, both as a device for teleporting spirits through its extra-dimensional door (not surprisingly attached to an öÿ’s entrance) and as an apotropaic device protecting the tent’s opening by distracting and channeling evil away from it and from those inside.   Yet it’s not so much of a defensive force protecting everything in the öÿ as it is a metaphysical portal that teleports spirits through it to secure and bring back many earthly beneficial blessings to this world. The engsi’s niche has also been said to be a bridal litter or kejebe motif, as in a kejebelyk, instead of the prayer niche attribution.  I have always thought of major borders on old real rugs as window frames or gateways through which passage to another dimension is possible with spirit escorts inside activated by the hatchli's magic ornaments that seem to be selected for their ability to make the rug work, that is to open the portal.  Another example of Islamic influence in original Türkmen designs is a rug's major border symbolizing a picture frame through which you can see paradise, the border is the frame or the 'gateway to paradise', also found in a mystical center point of a Persian garden.  Early Salyr small rugs often depicted usually esoteric images of Türkmen field ornaments appearing to be heavenly orbs floating in the evening sky.  Other constellations too, perhaps?  Engsis (hatchlis) were suspended by a loop on both of their top corners attaching the engsi to the öÿ’s opening hole.  The hatchli serves a confluence of symbolic purposes, both as a device for teleporting spirits through its extra-dimensional door (not surprisingly hung in the öÿ’s door opening) and also as an apotropaic devise defending the tent’s opening by distracting and channeling evil away from it and those inside the tent.   Yet it’s not so much of a rug generated defensive force protecting everything inside the öÿ as it is a portal through which spirits can be teleported to secure potential earthly benefits.  It also depicts ancient Altaic steppe animist totem rituals like the cross’s four quadrants being filled with trees and birds symbolizing the Türkmen soul’s transport to Heaven by birds ascending from their heavenly reaching trees.  Old shamans believed the vertical axis of the cross was indeed the Tree of Life from which birds left for heaven, transporting souls, revealing part of the ancient Altaic shamanic pagan belief system as seen in the design of these steppe animist pastoral door covers.  Their life was all about venerating animals and their ancestors spirits whom they believed were in their animals, along with many other natural phenomena. The hatchli’s design outlines the complete Türkmen 'Weltanschauung', with symbolic instructions that tell it like it is, this is what you have to do, that sort of thing.  You’re going to live, you’re going to die, this is how your soul goes to heaven, this is hell, this is earth, and all along portrays how all the rug’s interworking magic symbols operate together, including the repeating ornaments in the minor guard strips.  The hatchli's design and construction is the synthesis of infinite time and creation but the most extraordinary thing about it is that it’s a powerful device that works by returning to a querent the many potential earthly blessings and benefits related to the wishes of their query.  An amazing magic machine, as it were, if it were, and I think it was.  One of many in the öÿ.  There is an incredible intricate balance in the hatchli's design that subliminally meta-programmed the Türkmen for eons, addressing their tremendous need for order.  Also there are universal archaic designs in hatchlis as well that seem to be early Neolithic motifs, e.g., squares, crosses, pyramids, trees, birds, zig-zags, zoomorphic figures of humans and animals, and the most basic pictographs, etc., all showing a third layer of use in the Türkmen hatchli.   Fourthly, the hatchli's design represents early Altaic steppe animist totem rituals, like the cross’s four quadrants being filled with repeated trees and bird motifs, symbolizing the Türkmen soul’s transport to Heaven, carried by birds ascending from their heavenly reaching trees, whose roots grow in hell.  Old Shaman priests believed the vertical axis of the hatchli's cross was indeed the sacred Tree of Life from which birds left for heaven carrying souls, revealing the shamanistic pagan belief system reflected in the design of these steppe animist door covers.  The Türkmens' life was all about venerating animals and their spirit, and their ancestors they believed were in them, along with many other natural phenomena. The hatchli’s design outlines the complete Türkmen 'weltanschauung', along with non verbal symbolic instructions that tell it like it is, this is what you have to do, that sort of thing.  You’re going to live, you’re going to die, this is how your soul goes to heaven, this is hell, this is earth, and all along portraying how all the rug’s sacred 'symbolic devices' operate together, including the linked repeated ornaments in the minor or secondary guard stripes.  The hatchli's design and construction is a synthesis of infinite time and creation but the most extraordinary thing about it is that it’s a powerful device that works by returning to the querent the many magical benefits related to the wishes in their query.  There are also incredibly intricate balances in the hatchli's design that subliminally meta-programed the Türkmen for eons, addressing their tremendous need for order.  There are other archaic designs in hatchlis as well that seem to be  universal motifs, e.g., squares, crosses, pyramids, trees, birds, zig-zags, zoomorphic figures of humans and animals, and the most basic pictographs, etc., another one of the many layers of use for the Türkmen hatchli.  It is interesting to note that most of the early symbols were completely universal and used by all weaving societies.

içýan –

içýa: n scorpion, also sychan izi. also sary içýan (yellow scorpion pattern).

igsalyk –

oral information says in Türkmen igsa means ‘razor’, yet an igsalyk to:rba refers to a spindle bag where ik in ig(salyk) refers to the ‘spindle’. Also, in Türkmen ‘razor’ is päki.

it tapan –

lit., ‘dog tracks’, resembling a repeated pound sign e.g., ###. Typically found in Türkmen hatchli main borders and some are attached to a ‘meandering vine’. It lit. dog, and tapan, lit. tracks, so ‘dog tracks’. It is an animal toponym. Most muslims considered dogs to be unclean but the Türkmen held them in high esteem as steppe animists. Another unknown symbol, with no meaning or provenance. Yet.

jollar –

popular term for a small rectangular ceremonial animal and tent trapping, slightly smaller than a to:rba and like a to:rba it is often with no backing. It comes with or without a back. I have never been able to find a convincing etymology or definition or proof with origin for the rug term jollar.

Jedigen –

refers to a cluster of seven influential ‘stars’ (actually seven planets) revolving counter clockwise around the pole star Polaris (placed in the North and closest constellation to earth and the outer two of it’s four handle stars in the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) which when aligned point straight to the North Star or from the little dipper’s handle whose tip points directly to the North Star). Oral tradition says that the seven planets gathered strength from the pole-star Polaris and sent it back to earth where it can benefit the vegetable and animal kingdoms. These were the ‘visible orbs’, i.e., the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn and each of these seven planets is connected with one day of the week in the Türkmen religion, e.g., Sunday, Moonday, Tuesday is Mars, Wednesday is Mercury, Thursday is Jupiter, Friday is Venus and Saturnday. Each of them (the seven stars) were presented in the image of an angel (i.e., the seven Türkmen Saints) with a human face. These number seven also denotes the ‘seven principle’, e.g., the seven layers that divide the Türkmen sky and earth and in the ritual decoration of the dome’s tüynük, from the inside, it must have seven to:rbas hung around the roof hole with their open ends pointing up to the stars to collect their energy for positive energy in all their endeavors. (Ref., Prof. Yeni Sayfa, Ashkabad Science Academy).

jyn –

n genie, devil, an intelligent being lower than an angel, able to appear in human or animal forms, and having power over people.

khamtos – khamtoz –

according to Siawosch Azadi (in his ‘Turkoman Carpets and The Ethnographic Significance of Their Ornaments’) the definition of khamtos is ‘zig-zag or stepped’. ref. p.47. (like a staircase)

kapunuk –

Russian mis-transliteration of gapylyk, (gapy means door, lyk is a thing for, thefore a thing for a door. See khallyk. The kapunuk is the larger version of a U-shaped wedding ceremonial camel knotted to:rba trapping textile with arms and with fringe on the lower inside perimeter and both arms bottom ends. Used as a lambrequin for the bridal domed litter’s entrance, then inside the ak öÿ tent, either as a door surround or a hearth rug. The suggestion that this textile is a women in a receptive position might be why its used in the wedding procession litter (fertility symbol). Wedding pieces were taken from the camel and placed in the tent where they were renamed for their new use like gapylyk in the tent, or hearth rug (odjaklyk) in the tent, but kapunuk on the wedding camel. After it’s ceremonial use on the bridal camel it was used as a ritual tent trapping, or could be used as a door surround for the Türkmen ak öÿ’s entrance. There is some suggestion that they also were used to surround the sacred hearth. If that is so, then it would become a home hearth for the veneration of sacred fire. This place in the tent would then be called alaushih (sacred fire) in Türkmen. Fire cults are part of the Persian influence from their dominate Zoroasterian religion.

Karakul wool –

Persian sheep wool introduced into Afghanistan by the twelve Türkmen tribes that migrated south from Merv after the Russian takeover in the late 19th century. Fat tailed sheep’s wool when carded is soft, glossy, thick and curly, but when combed it’s longer and straighter.

kejebelyk –

kejebe in Türkmen trans: bride, lyk trans: 'a thing for', ergo, kejebelyk is 'a thing for the bride’. An apotropaic ceremonial animal trapping or to:rba hung often placed on the wedding camel's canopy as a lambrequin to protect the bride and whose design symbolises the bride’s canopy and her camel repeated.

Kepse gö:l –

see gabsa gö:l. One of the two primary gö:ls of the Ýomut Türkmen Main Carpets.

khali –

refers to a Main Carpet in many of the Türkmen tribes. See ha:lyk, hali.

khalyk –

smaller version of the inverted U-shaped gapylyk, used as decorative camel trapping. In a Türkmen wedding caravan it’s used as a trapping for a wedding camel's neck; anglicized spelling is khalyk. This is one piece of the dowry that is often woven by the bride herself, the other dowry pieces are woven by other senior women in her family. Often it decorates the wedding camels chest, which is considered the most important part of the wedding camel and it’s usually reversed, showing off the quality of her weaving. Or it’s used as a door enclosure at the bottom of the litter opening., possibly indicating it’s female receptive position. Khalyks usually come with an extra flap in the center, but also come in just the two flap version. Later, it’s used in the tent as a lower door portal trapping.


the repeated British Flag pattern, placed in squares and alternating in dark then light colors and depicted in the narrow minor guard borders in Türkmen to:rbas. Also, a tiny talismanic purse for women to hold amulets, usually in the form of a triangle.

Khalkebegi British Flag pattern

Khirgas –

Türkmen word for the conical huts of a Türkmen village. (Charles Marvin, RGS Expedition Reports, 1888) 

Khiva –

the first Central Asian suzerainty to fall to the Russian Army, in 1873, and home to the North Eastern Ýomut. The Khanate of Khiva (called Khwarezm) was originally formed by the Uzbeks Mongols and dominated a major part of Turkmenistan. Driven south by wars and droughts in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Türkmen in Merv, Ahal and Atrek region kept their independence in the nineteenth century by paying tribute to the Khan of Khiva. The Russians eventually overcame the Uzbek Khan in Bukhara and the Khanate of Khiva itself became a Russian Province in 1873. Russian Gen. Kaufman. decided on a springtime offensive to avoid the deadly desert weather, so May 1873 was chosen for his attack date against the Ýomut at Khiva. When the Russian army took Khiva, they liberated twenty thousand Persian slaves. Khivans also actively engaged in the buying and selling of captive Russians or Russian subject groups in the second half of the nineteenth century.

khorjun –

Türkmen for the Persian khourjin (Farsi), a double pouched saddle bag in various sizes, used for storage, cartage and transport purposes on their horses, donkeys and camels, also used as storage inside the tent. They displayed the tribe’s recognizable tamgha clan insignias.

lanolin –

naturally occurring wool fat or oil that must be present in wool follicles to create the sheen that comes when the wool is processed and dyes adhered correctly creating the mellow hues which sparkle with luster. The absence of lanolin in wool that has been damaged or burned or was not there in the first place (wool gathered from dead or sick sheep, etc.) will result in dull or lusterless wool. Lanolin, if the wool is processed correctly, can remain in that wool shaft for centuries.

lexicon –

the vocabulary of a language.

lexicography –

n the practice or art of compiling dictionaries.

main carpets –

called ha:lyks, major Türkmen tribes weave large tent sized main carpets (khali, ha:lyk) in their own technique, with their own traditional emblems that are unique only to that tribe and woven specifically for their öÿ. These slightly squared Main Carpets display a tribe’s unique heraldic major gö:l, and it’s corresponding negative or reverse female image (the yang to the yen) of the secondary or minor gö:l, i.e., the reverse, negative or opposite version of the major gö:l. These tent floor carpets were used only as family meeting rugs in the öÿ on formal occasions i.e., weddings, receptions, honored guests, relatives, etc.. They reflected the status of their owner as few could afford them. They were generally large, square tent sized carpets and when opened in an öÿ, they covered about half the floor space, the rear half where the chief sat. Most ha;lyks were woven for indigenous use but in the case of the MAD Ärsary Türkmen, they wove ha:lyks in much larger, over-sized carpets for the Bukharan, Samarkand, and Khivan domestic markets.

mafrash –

the smallest sized single bag face in Türkmen weaving, and normally has a backing and is used for transporting food. Side borders are usually absent.

makatlyk –

Persian (Farsi) word for ‘runner’.

Maýa –

1 n camel - ak maýa n white camel maýanyň ýolycomp - the Milky Way, the Galaxy.

Merv (Mar, Maru) Oasis - Merv Téké Türkmen –

In 1598 the inhabitants of Merv capitulated to Persia’s Shah Abbas, a Türkmen. (Encyclopedia of Islam, p 1006). In the early 19th century Téké Türkmen migrated south from the Mangyshlak peninsula and became subdivided into three eponymously named oases based nomadic societies, e.g., the Ahal Téké Türkmen, the Mar Téké Türkmen and the Tedjend Téké Türkmens, each located in Central Asia’s Turkmenian southern oases’ rim. The Ahal Oases extends from Kizyl Avat in the west to Ashkabad and the Merv Oasis in the east (correct word in Turkoman for Merv is Mar (ref., 'The Country of the Turkomans') on the upper reaches of the Murghab river. A Persian Qajar Shah attacked the Mar Oases (Merv) in 1785 killing the old Kadjar Téké Khan and decimating the Türkmen population of Mar. The Téké Türkmen re-captured the Mar Oasis in 1843. The Persians re-campaigned against the Türkmen resulting in the Persian Army’s occupation of the Mar oasis in 1857. Dengli Tépé was the real name of the old fort at the Ahal Oasis not Gök Tépé as all the Russian maps show. 'Deng' in Türkmençe means 'to try', Dengli translates 'the trying place'.

"In 1823 the Oases of Marv, which was now inhabited by Turkmen after having been devastated by wars and its sedentary population having been deported to Bukhara, was lost to Ḵhīva. In 1259/1843 the wars with Ḵhiva over Marv were renewed and continued until 1271/1855, when the local Turk­men became independent from both khanates." (Ref., Central Asia, Encycl. Iranica) The late 18th and 19th centuries saw the wars for Merv (Mar in Türkmençe, also Marv, Maru) fought between the Téké Türkmen and the Salyr and Sarik Türkmen (who also previously inhabited the Merv Oases but lost it to the Téké in 1857). The Téké Türkmen adopted the demonym 'Mar' (a demonym is a word that identifies the natives of a particular place and is usually derived from the name of the place) and that became the new name of the Merv or in Türkmen dili the Mar Téké Türkmen. (Ref., Wikipedia) The Sarik Türkmen again retreated lower down the Murghab River to the Yoloton Oasis and finally into the Pendjeh (Pende) Oasis where they remain today. I have still found no evidence that the Sarik Türkmen were eponymously named with the denonym Merv Sarik Türkmen while they were there. The Ahal, Merv (Persian spelling and on most maps) and Tedjend Oases became the adopted demonyms (a word that identifies the natives of a particular place with the name of that place, ref., Wikipedia) for the Ahal Téké Türkmen and their cousins the Merv Téké Türkmen and the Tedjend Téké Türkmen. Interestingly enough each Téké Türkmen splinter group distinguished itself by placing the name of their Oasis in front of their own name by adding it as a demonym.

Because the Russians treated the Ahal Téké Türkmen so badly at the Battle for Gök Tépé in 1881 and hearing of this fate alarmed the four Khans of the Turkoman tribes of Mar who fearing the same sanguinary treatment abruptly surrendered unconditionally to the Russians in 1883 who subsequently peacefully occupied the Merv Oasis by 1884. The Mar Turkoman practiced serigraphy until 1880 when an epidemic disease killed all of their silk worms. The Mar Oasis was arable and produced food for centuries. It was also on the 'Old Silk Route' for millennia.

mezarlyk –

Persian (Farsi) for ‘grave rug’ (in Azeri, Cabristan rug means a fine rug woven for a funeral and Soumak means 'cemetery' in Azeri and was woven as a grave cover). Both rugs were never meant to be used daily as there were too fine and delicate. In Turkish a grave carpet is called a Turbehlyk. These rugs were usually finely woven and very intricate. The dead were often carried to their grave on a rug and when buried the rug would be laid over their grave. Sizes varied, smaller rugs covered children’s graves, larger ones covered several graves of family members who died together. The Türkmen were brought into the world on a rug, lived on a rug and died on a rug. The Türkmen reportedly covered their graves with their rugs (Pinner).

Murgab – Morḡāb –

Farsi, eventually becoming Murghab, or Morḡāb in Encyclopedia Iranica name for the Oasis and the river, also called the Merv river, one of two main rivers in the south eastern ‘rim’ of Oases Turkmenistan, it flows to Merv and the Merv Oasis, the other is the Tedjend river, which flows through Sarakh to the Tedjend Oases, both rivers empty into the Caspian Sea. Murghab means ‘bird water’ referring to it’s swift moving currents. (R.G.S. Expedition Reports, London, 1888).

neologism –

a newly coined word or expression, e.g., Chrislam, combining Christianity and Islam into one new African religion called 'Chrislam'.

odjaklyk –

Hearth rug is the term for the inverted U lambrequin surround when used at the sacred fire area or hearth inside the öÿ home.

ojak -–o:jak–

n 1 fireplace, hearth, sacred fire area, o:jaklyk: hearth rug, fire cult. They threw bits of their food into the sacred fire to purify the rest of the food, a fire cult ritual.

ok gozi –

also ok-ýaý (bow & arrow), also ok gezi, ‘eye of the arrow’, ok is arrow and gozi is eye, also evil eye pattern, literal translation is ‘tip of the arrow’. See ‘bovrek’.

Omnism –

Omnism is the recognition and respect of all religions.

Onighun –

ongun - onghun, totem signs (Schurmann), (totem are protective spirits, Azadi). Onighun is a totem name awarded to a tribe and is often regarded as the “father of the tribe” (ref Azadi), referring to the totem’s exclusive powers which are empowering that tribe. It is well known that totemism’s practice was widespread among the Ural-Altai (Kazakh) peoples, who venerated the bear and the Blue Jenni (wolf), as their other worldly correspondents. But for the Oghuz and Post-Oghuz Türkmen, their totem animals were predatory birds of prey, hunting birds, mostly from the Eagle family. These traditions were pre-Islamic and were not stopped in any way by the introduction of Islam in Central Asian or by Russia. At one point in their history, around the 1100’s, twenty four Türkmen tribes were named for a different bird of prey, that they venerated, and which became their totem and it’s symbol was their tagma (cattle brand). “The ‘ongun’ differs from the actual totem in that the spirit is separated from its material form and may be worshipped in the form of an idol.” (Susan Day 1993)

ort –

Türkmen for cover.

ortheopy –

the study of correct pronunciation.

orthography –

n orthography; plural noun: orthographies 1. the conventional spelling system of a language. Study of correct spelling. Phononemic individuism with sovereign respect as in re-aquiring one’s own spellings.

Öý –

Türkmen word for tent, or tent home, erroneously referred to as a ‘yurt’ (yurt is the Russian word for tent, also kibitk), yurt actually refers to a geographical territory, something like a political unit or a political designation. A tent, as I envision it, is a sort of metaphysical device or mechanism operating as an anthropomorphic life sphere, performing and combining all aspects of their historical and material culture, suffused into the Türkmen system of beliefs that causally connects every known spiritual, shamanistic, talismanic and totemic need being addressed throughout this world to the next. A microcosm of what they see around themselves, a model of their universe. Their öÿ or tent home is literally an extension of their central nervous system, almost an axiological exo-system. If there is a psycho-biology in their linguistics, then there imust be a pagan omniscience in their textile’s symbols. This Noble Savage, who is also as cunning as a snake. The dome is a planetarium mirroring their macro view of the cosmos outside their tent.

patina –

see abrash. Visual effect created by underlying color in the knot tips refracted and magnified by the clear portion of the hair mantle acting as a convex glass lens and magnifying the internal or fixed core color outward. Also hue, sheen and luster.

perde –

curtain, in the wedding tent, this is the bridal curtain which protects the bride from any kind of evil influence, including gossip, and also separates the woman’s section from the mens. Also called şımıldıq (Tatar for scimitar referring to the sword’s curved crescent shape).


n charm, amulet, talisman, totem

phylactery –

plural - phylacteries 1: either of two small square leather boxes containing slips inscribed with scriptural passages and traditionally worn on the left arm and on the head by observant Jewish men and especially adherents of Orthodox Judaism during morning weekday prayers. This fits in with the Türkmen aÿna gochak gül, i.e., putting charms in a small box or container that as an enclosure increases the power of that ornament or charm. There is an old oriental saying that “Real power is best hidden.” When the talisman is placed in the box the box and the talisman inside become an amulet or charm (see periapt). 2: amulet.

real rug –

It is my opinion that the ‘ancient tribal meeting grounds’ were located in Kurdistan on the Old Silk Route as it converged into Central Asia and Asia Minor. Over several millennia divergent groups, tribes, caravans of merchants, etc., all came from the Far East, India, China, Mongolia and Tibet through Kurdistan where they met and exchanged ideas and symbols from all the great religions of the world. This confluence of ideas, religions and philosophies of life was eventually represented in the rugs symbols that had incorporated all the primary symbols from the world’s greatest religions and morphed them together into one rug. Combining these ‘great religions’ symbols created a unique ‘real’ rug design style by including all major religions into a universal religion, this is what I called a ‘real rug’ forty five years ago, now I call it Sufi sm. ‘Real rugs” are ultimately the symbiosis of all religions, shown in their symbols, and shown in the rugs which symbolically display the syncretic confluence of cultures adopted eons ago in these forums for all cultures using the Old Silk Route, the ultimate transferrer of knowledge, creating the only rugs with a complete universal symbology.

repeated ornaments –

see ok gozi, sary içýan, algam, soldat, gelin barmak, khalkebagi, khamtos, gyak, dogajik, daghdan, tekbent, sytçhan izy, tengejik, göz-dil, ala ja, and many more. These ornaments are found repeated in narrow minor guard borders and strips. These ornaments are not güls but emblems, forms and motifs, device symbols that are represented as depictions of various charms, amulets, 'eye crackers', talisman, etc., all repeated to gain more power to stop evil. The narrow minor guard borders are also used for conducting star energy, channeling or moving the star energy to empower their agriculture, birth, well being, etc., and these ornaments repeat because it was believed that repetition of magical ornaments, symbols of charms, over and over, increases their power. The same thing happens during oral incantations or when any ornament (charm) is enclosed in a box which is then repeated or in a minor guard border where it’s ornament is repeated, each becomes more powerful with more repetition, evoking more defensive energy and protecting individuals from stronger evil.

repristinate –

transitive verb: to restore to an original state or condition.

Russian Bukhara –

trade name given to Türkmen rugs after the Russian conquest of Turkmenistan and sold in the city of Bukhara, the marketing source of the sale of commercial production from the surrounding Türkmen clans who took their goods there to sell and barter. Most ‘Russian Bukharas’ were woven in the first quarter of the twentieth century and were increasingly inferior due to the post Russian adulterated materials including chemical dyes and inferior wool and other cheaper materials. Most were made in increasingly state enforced enterprise for Russian domestic demand. Smaller, finer, Türkmen wedding presentation rugs were called ‘Princess Bukhara’ or even ‘Royal Bukhara’, designating ‘the best’. These trade names lasted from the nineteenth century through the 1970’s.

S - shape ornament –

see algam, S refers to the Armenian letter T which is in the shape of an S and and is repeated and usually linked, horizontally. The Armenian word for God begins with this letter. Also, this border pattern it is associated with the Christian dragon and phoenix myth where the elongated horizontal S is the dragon and the phoenix is rising from the dragon (resurrection) which is early Christian symbolism (The Oriental Carpet). Additionally, in Chinese mythology, the dragon is connected with water, either living in rivers or brooks, and is important to people with water based agriculture such as the Türkmen, for whom irrigation was essential for their semi-settled agrarian life. Therefore this is also a water totem.

Sahra –

Arabic, feminine, for desert, like Sahara. The Türkmen Sahra is a region in northeast Iran near the Caspian Sea and at one time was called Persian Turkestan. It was also known as Khorasan and also as Turcomensahra (the Turkoman Steppe or Türkmen steppes).

Sakar gishik –

stylized shrubs with serrated leafs and central stalks, usually found in the borders of engsis and in the apron elems of çüwals.

salgamak –

sa:lgamak v to wave, wag, see algam (lightening).

Salyr Türkmen –

refers to the Salyr Türkmen, (also Salghur, Salïr, Sal- gïr, per Jürg Rageth) considered the most aristocratic of the historical Türkmen tribes (with documented weaving in the 11th century and might possibly to be the actual inventors of woven rugs) and, a centuries ago, were one of the two largest and most powerful Türkmen tribes, the other one being the Çowdur. Both were located, in the sixteenth century, on the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea. My interesting note is that the Salyr ended up being the southern most of the Türkmen tribes (starting in Manglashak with the Çowdur in the sixteenth century and then on to the MAD on the right bank, in the middle seventeenth century, and then with the Ärsary on the left bank of the middle reaches of the Amu Darya river in the middle 18th century, then going on through Merv, Sarakh and ending up in Tedjhen in the nineteenth century. While the Çowdur remained, as the most northern of the Türkmen tribes in Central Asian Turkmenia. Depending on your authority and the criteria used for their judgement (plus the quality of their oral informants) there were at least seven and possibly eight major historical Türkmen tribes in the nineteenth century, where there are only five recognized major Türkmen tribes in the twentieth century whose primary gö:ls are all seen on the modern flag of Turkmenistan. They are all said to be descended from the original tribes of Oghuz Khan, through ‘Salor’, the first son of Tak Khan, the 21st grandson of the Oghuz Khan. Oguz Khan is considered to be the ancestor of all Türkmen.

Mostly through pressure from others, the Salyr periodically retreated South over several centuries in Western Central Asian. Starting in Mangïshlaq, the Balkhan Mountains, and Khorassan, which they dominated in the sixteenth century while known as the Stone Salyrs aligned in a confederacy with the Téké, the Sarïq and the Ýomut. Then moved on to the middle reaches of the Amu-Darya river (MAD), and ending in the Merv, Sarakh and the Tedjen Oases, in the last half of the 19th century. During the years from 1857 to 1859, the Téké established their control over Merv and forced the Saryk to Yolatan, who in turn displaced the Salyr, who moved into the Pendeh region, south of Merv. However the Salyr did not completely disappear in the 19th century but continued to inhabit the region of Sarakh, Merv and Maruchak. Very early on the Salyr practiced a pre-Islamic form of Zoroasterism (early fire cult) which was well suited to their pagan leanings, as they much preferred them to the stricter Islamic sharia of Orthodox Islamic cities like Bukhara. In the ninth through the eleventh century some of Türkmen practiced a Nestorian doctrine of Christianity, but nothing could replace their original pagan religion shamanic steppe animism. With over a thousand religions to chose from, eleventh century Central Asian peoples had no state favored or dominate religion, so they were inadvertently very tolerant of different religions, including Islam. A Persian Shia Sufi profit from Ardebil (a mystical side of Islam as practiced by very influential mystical steppe dervish sects known as ‘the brothers of the desert’ and well suited to the nomadic temperament). (Note: During the 15th and 16th century the Western Türkmen, called Kizil Bash, wholly converted to Shiaism, Azadi). Other religions available were Buddhism, Shamanism, Paganism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Parsee fire-worshipers, Judaism, Devil Worshippers (Yazidi), Manicheanism, pre-Islamic Semetic occult sciences, all these and more were candidates for the Salyr, that is before Islam. Pre-Islamic and pre-Christian religions in Central Asia are another subject.

It is thought that ancestors of the Salyr came to western and southern Central Asia from the region of Samarkand in the late eleventh century, moving west with the Seldjuks. By the 16th century they were considered the largest of the Central Asian Türkmen tribes. Often misspelled Salor in current literature, their ha:lyk’s major gö:l is a turreted shield ornament called the Karlyk gö:l or Salyr gö:l. The so called ‘dead’ Salyr gö:l is known by many names, including the Mary gö:l (Mary, Mari, Mauri, were the original names for Merv), also, the Karlyk gö:l and the Shield gö:l. The Salyr were generally considered to be the oldest of the Central Asian Altai origin Türkmen tribes; it’s thought that all Türkmen tribes descend from them. They dominated Central Asian Khorasan in the sixteenth century, when they were known as the Stone Salyrs, in a confederacy with the Téké, the Sarïq and the Ýomut. The Salyr tribe was considered to be the most aristocratic of the Central Asian Türkmen tribes until their annihilation by the Persian Qajar army in 1834 at Sarakh. They were displaced and fragmented again when taking advantage, the Téké pushed them out of the Merv Oasis in the 1850’s. They retreated to Sarakh. Others remained and were assimilated by the Merv Téké, still others by the Ýomut. The resulting appearance of heavily depressed warps in Merv Merv Téké weaving can be traced to earlier Persian influence on Salyr weaving, possibly from their time in Khorasan, which influenced the Merv Téké when they came to Merv and encountered the depressed warps and Persian knots weaving them together with other attributes taken from the Salyr (darker reds and the Salyr ‘dead’ gö:ls). Persian influence from upright loom woven rugs as opposed to the flat double nodes (from the back) of purer undiluted Ahal Téké weaving, which was not influenced any where near as much by Persian knot cross-pollination. When the Téké took Merv, they absorbed the Persian influence from Salyr weaving and naturally the Téké borrowed alot from earlier Salyr weaving to make their weaving then appear very similar to earlier Salyr weaving. Salyr weaving in pre-Téké Merv Oasis and Merv Téké weaving soon looked the same. Also, they created a hybrid know by combining even warps (when viewed from the back) as with Turkish knots with an asymmetrical knot, in the sense it’s a Turkish symmetrical knot combined with a Persian asymmetrical knot pulled open to the left or right, when viewed from the front, using both single and double weft shoots. Before that they had been a purer form of Turkic weaving, which had horizontal warps, and a single alternating weft based configuration with asymmetrical knot (pulled open to the left for Sarïq and pulled open to the right for the Téké in the second half of the nineteenth century. The ultimate fusion between Persian and Turkish knots being a ‘symmetrical asymmetrical’ knot. Turkish symmetrical knots are, I presume, the oldest and purest form of Turkic weaving, especially when using a single warp, which is in a ‘Senneh weave configuration’, and takes the most mastery to weave, and its always symmetrical from the back whether the two Turkish knot shafts are pulled to the left, the right, or even and again symmetrical into depressed in a Persian or Senneh asymmetrical knot, pulled open to the left or right. However, it is not so clear whether the Türkmen brought the Turkish knot with them when they came west to Central Asia or found it waiting for them when they arrived, left over from another earlier weaving culture in that region. The Turkish knot is still the term we use to describe both the rug knotting in Western Central Asia by the Türkmen and for the first westward moving Mongol Turkic pastoral nomads a millennia ago to discover upon their first arriving (James Opie) and found it as it was used before groups we call “Turkic” appeared in the area. If so, the remaining issue is how, when and where the Salyr lost their original Turkish knots by cross breeding them with the Persian asymmetrical knot (perhaps likely because of their close proximity to Persia?). If the original Turkic knot was indeed symmetrical, and at one time all Türkmen rugs were woven with that same knot, before any Persian influence from cross-pollinating, it might explain the Salyr weave, or even the continued but small continued use of the Téké's vestigial Turkish knot, but its unclear about when this took place. There is no time line for the history of how knots evolved and became adapted by steppe tribal weavers in a thousand different ways over a thousand different years. Some ending by the 20th century, but at least they passed their zenith and achieved perfection on so many levels simultaneously by the end of the 19th century. And why didn’t Persian knotting influence the Ýomut and the older Saryks, considering how close a proximity they were to Persia. Older Saryk rugs wove primarily with symmetrical Turkish knots and double wefts but the newer Saryk rugs were woven primarily with asymmetrical knots and their resulting depressed warps.

sary içýan - içýa:

n yellow scorpion, Türkmen for ‘yellow scorpion’ pattern, aka ‘running dog’ and ‘running wave’. Most often found in Ýomut asmalyk’s minor guard borders. It güyrük, lit. dog tail, also kuiruk (same in Kyrgyz), again, called the ‘running dog’ border, or ‘running waves’. It’s primarily in minor guard borders seen on smaller Ýomut pieces, especially asymlyks. It may also be the origin of the word Yürük (meaning wanderer or nomad; the Yürük” say: “we are the real Turks!”) and are known as the Türkmen of Anatolia, as these migratory Türkmen followed the Seldjuks into Anatolia in the 16th century and became the Anatolian Türkmen (Yürük) and wove their rugs in the Anatolian poly-chromatic style while the other Türkmen that stayed behind in Turkmenistan continued to weave their more monochromatic, fundamentalist red rugs See S-shape. Algam.

Saryk Türkmen - Sarïq

The Salyr Türkmen, also seen spelled Salur, Salor, Salghur, Salïr and Sal-gïr, per Jürg Rageth. According to the 'Encyclopoedia of Islam' the name Salur is derived from the verb 'salmak' meaning 'ready to attack, warrior'. The Salyr Türkmen are said to be descended from the original tribes of Oghuz Khan, through ‘Salor’, the first son of Tak Khan, the 21st grandson of Oghuz Khan. Oguz Khan is considered to be the ancestor of all Türkmen. The Salyr are generally considered to be the most aristocratic of all historic Türkmen tribes with documented weaving in the 11th century and some say they (Salyr) may possibly be the actual inventors of woven rugs. A millennium ago, they were one of the two largest and most powerful Türkmen tribes in Central Asia, the other one, the Çowdur. The Salyr helped to establish the Great Saldjuk Empire and the Salghurid Dynasty in Fars during the 6th through the 12th centuries. The Salghurid Dynasty which ruled Fars (south Persia) from 1148-1282 played an important role in the creation of the Sultanate of Rum, the Türkmen Emirate in Anatolia.

In the sixteenth century they were located on the northeast coast of the Caspian Sea in the Manglashaq Penninsula but ended up being the southern most of all the Türkmen tribes. Starting their migration from the Manglashaq (thousand villages) with the Çowdur in the sixteenth century they migrated south and east into the middle reaches of the Amu Darya, first on the right bank and then the left bank in the middle seventeenth century, co-existing with the Ärsary on the left bank by the middle 18th century. There were Türkmen emirates in Anatolia from the 10th through the sixteenth centuries in Sivas and Adana. Anatolian Salyrs were called Ak Salyrs.

Then on to Merv and Sarakhs finally ending up in the Tedjhen Oasis in the nineteenth century, all the while the Çowdur remained the most northern of the Türkmen tribes. Depending on your authority and the criteria used for their judgement and their oral informants there were at least seven possibly eight major historic Türkmen tribes in nineteenth century Turkmenia and only five recognized major Türkmen tribes ascended to the twentieth century led by the Teke. The primary major gö:ls of those five are all seen on the modern day flag of Turkmenistan.

The Salyr first settled in Khiva (Khorezm) after leaving the Manglishlaq Peninsula in the 17th century. A Salyr splinter group emigrated to the Bokhara Oasis in the mid 18th cent and then eventually emigrated to Old Sarakhs on the Khivan - Persian frontier (now called the northern Iran border with southern Turkmenistan. There, in 1831 they were brutally defeated in retribution for their raids (alamans) by the Persian Qajar army and then again by the Teke and the Saryk, forcing them to flee to Merv where they coexisted with the Mervis and Tekes but in much smaller numbers. Eventually they returned to Old Sarakhs around the end of the 19th century where their remnants remain today.

Mostly through pressure from others and water issues the Salyr periodically retreated south over several centuries in western Central Asian. Starting in the Mangïshlaq, the Balkhan Mountains, and Khorassan, which they dominated in the sixteenth century while known as the Stone Salyrs aligned in a confederacy with the Téké, the Sarïq and the Ýomud. Then moved on to the middle reaches of the Amu-Darya river (MAD), and ending in the Merv, Sarakh and the Tedjen Oases, in the last half of the 19th century. During the years from 1857 to 1859, the Téké established their control over Merv and forced the Saryk to Yolatan, who in turn displaced the Salyr, who moved into the Pendeh region, south of Merv. From 1851 - 1854 the Khan of KhivHowever the Salyr did not completely disappear in the 19th century but continued to inhabit the region of Sarakh, Merv and Maruchak. Very early on the Salyr practiced a pre-Islamic form of Zoroasterism (early fire cult) which was well suited to their pagan leanings, as they much preferred them to the stricter Islamic sharia of Orthodox Islamic cities like Bukhara. In the ninth through the eleventh century some of Türkmen practiced a Nestorian doctrine of Christianity, but nothing could replace their original pagan religion shamanic steppe animism. With over a thousand religions to chose from, eleventh century Central Asian peoples had no state favored or dominate religion, so they were inadvertently very tolerant of different religions, including Islam. A Persian Shia Sufi profit from Ardebil (a mystical side of Islam as practiced by very influential mystical steppe dervish sects known as ‘the brothers of the desert’ and well suited to the nomadic temperament). (Note: During the 15th and 16th century the Western Türkmen, called Kizil Bash, wholly converted to Shiaism, Azadi). Other religions available were Buddhism, Shamanism, Paganism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Parsee fire-worshipers, Judaism, Devil Worshippers (Yazidi), Manicheanism, pre-Islamic Semetic occult sciences, all these and more were candidates for the Salyr, that is before Islam. Pre-Islamic and pre-Christian religions in Central Asia are another subject.

It is thought that ancestors of the Salyr came to western and southeast Central Asia from the region of Samarkand in the late eleventh century, moving west with the Seldjuks. By the 16th century they were considered the largest of the Central Asian Türkmen tribes. Often misspelled Salor in current literature, their ha:lyk’s major gö:l is a turreted shield ornament called the Karlyk gö:l or Salyr gö:l. The so called ‘dead’ Salyr gö:l is known by many names, including the Mary gö:l (Mary, Mari, Mauri, were the original names for Merv), also, the Karlyk gö:l and the Shield gö:l. The Salyr were generally considered to be the oldest of the Central Asian Altai origin Türkmen tribes; it’s thought that all Türkmen tribes descend from them. They dominated Central Asian Khorasan in the sixteenth century, when they were known as the Stone Salyrs, in a confederacy with the Téké, the Sarïq and the Ýomut. The Salyr tribe was considered to be the most aristocratic of the Central Asian Türkmen tribes until their annihilation by the Persian Qajar army in 1834 at Sarakh. They were displaced and fragmented again when taking advantage, the Téké pushed them out of the Merv Oasis in the 1850’s. They retreated to Sarakh. Others remained and were assimilated by the Merv Téké, still others by the Ýomut. The resulting appearance of heavily depressed warps in Merv Merv Téké weaving can be traced to earlier Persian influence on Salyr weaving, possibly from their time in Khorasan, which influenced the Merv Téké when they came to Merv and encountered the depressed warps and Persian knots weaving them together with other attributes taken from the Salyr (darker reds and the Salyr ‘dead’ gö:ls). Persian influence from upright loom woven rugs as opposed to the flat double nodes (from the back) of purer undiluted Ahal Téké weaving, which was not influenced any where near as much by Persian knot cross-pollination. When the Téké took Merv, they absorbed the Persian influence from Salyr weaving and naturally the Téké borrowed alot from earlier Salyr weaving to make their weaving then appear very similar to earlier Salyr weaving. Salyr weaving in pre-Téké Merv Oasis and Merv Téké weaving soon looked the same. Also, they created a hybrid know by combining even warps (when viewed from the back) as with Turkish knots with an asymmetrical knot, in the sense it’s a Turkish symmetrical knot combined with a Persian asymmetrical knot pulled open to the left or right, when viewed from the front, using both single and double weft shoots. Before that they had been a purer form of Turkic weaving, which had horizontal warps, and a single alternating weft based configuration with asymmetrical knot (pulled open to the left for Sarïq and pulled open to the right for the Téké in the second half of the nineteenth century. The ultimate fusion between Persian and Turkish knots being a ‘symmetrical asymmetrical’ knot. Turkish symmetrical knots are, I presume, the oldest and purest form of Turkic weaving, especially when using a single warp, which is in a ‘Senneh weave configuration’, and takes the most mastery to weave, and its always symmetrical from the back whether the two Turkish knot shafts are pulled to the left, the right, or even and again symmetrical into depressed in a Persian or Senneh asymmetrical knot, pulled open to the left or right. However, it is not so clear whether the Türkmen brought the Turkish knot with them when they came west to Central Asia or found it waiting for them when they arrived, left over from another earlier weaving culture in that region. The Turkish knot is still the term we use to describe both the rug knotting in Western Central Asia by the Türkmen and for the first westward moving Mongol Turkic pastoral nomads a millennia ago to discover upon their first arriving (James Opie) and found it as it was used before groups we call “Turkic” appeared in the area. If so, the remaining issue is how, when and where the Salyr lost their original Turkish knots by cross breeding them with the Persian asymmetrical knot (perhaps likely because of their close proximity to Persia?). If the original Turkic knot was indeed symmetrical, and at one time all Türkmen rugs were woven with that same knot, before any Persian influence from cross-pollinating, it might explain the Salyr weave, or even the continued but small continued use of the Téké's vestigial Turkish knot, but its unclear about when this took place. There is no time line for the history of how knots evolved and became adapted by steppe tribal weavers in a thousand different ways over a thousand different years. Some ending by the 20th century, but at least they passed their zenith and achieved perfection on so many levels simultaneously by the end of the 19th century. And why didn’t Persian knotting influence the Ýomut and the older Saryks, considering how close a proximity they were to Persia. Older Saryk rugs wove primarily with symmetrical Turkish knots and double wefts but the newer Saryk rugs were woven primarily with asymmetrical knots and their resulting depressed warps.

The Salyr first settled in Khiva after leaving the Manglishlaq Peninsula in the 17th century, a Salyr splinter group emigrated to the Bokhara Oasis in the mid 18th cent and then eventually emigrated to Old Sarakh on the Khivan - Persian frontier where in 1831, they were brutally defeated by the Persian Qajar army and then again by the Teke and the Saryk and forcing them to Merv where they coexisted with the Merv Teke but in much smaller numbers. (Ref., Bob MacDonald) Eventually they returned to Old Sarakh around the end of the 19th century where they remain today.

Shaman –

priest, see Steppe animists also called ’porchanes’.

Shaman priest of Sherwuchun

Priests of Skerwuchun casting spells

shemle –

hexagonal ‘shawl’ motif showing interwoven links of diagonal lattice work of the Shemle ornament. Often seen in Saryk to:rbas.

soldat –

Russian for ‘soldier’, a small Türkmen rug’s narrow minor guard border motif depicting repeating ‘tuning fork’ ornaments, only with alternating colors that repeat.

Soumak –

Caucasian fine intricate fabric woven with a supplementary floated chain stich or cashmering technique brocading over an underlying flat woven foundation, a technique in Türkmen called ‘oiedume’ (Tsareva). In Azeri, Soumak means ‘cemetery’. In my opinion these fabrics were woven for the funeral as a ceremonial placement for the grave and were impractical for any daily use as they were too fine.

spell –

n. - to cast a magical aura over an entity.

Steppe animists –

Pre-Islamic Türkmen. Shaman guided steppe animist pastoral Tukic nomads with a material culture from the Altai and Syr Darya region (Transoxiana). Animal pastoralist nomad’s entire world revolved around their animals. They believed their ancestors spirits were in their animals and therefore they venerated them often treating them better than humans. These animal totems could grant them favors if they were kept happy, which they did. All value sprung from animals, wool, transportation, food, all their material goods, wealth was measured in herds. They worshipped their animals which permeated all social strata, rich or poor. A pretty woman in Kazakhstan is called a ‘dromedary’.

symbology –

1: the art of expression by symbols. 2: the study or interpretation of symbols.

syncretism –

syncretistic, a union or attempted fusion of different religions, cultures, or philosophies - like Halloween, which has both Christian and pagan roots. Religious syncretism exhibits blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system. Voodoo is a syncretic religion that combines Roman Catholicism and native African religions, particularly from religion of the Dahomey region of West Africa (the modern day nation of Benin). The cross between the Catholic church and pagan societies that merged with the Catholic formal liturgy yet still allowed a vanquished pagan group the freedom of a place in the rituals of the dominate religion. ‘Chrislam’ is a neologism used to refer to syncretism between Christianity and Islam among the Yoruba of Nigeria.

sytçhan izy –

sichan izi, lit., ‘mouse track’, a small Türkmen rug’s narrow minor guard border pattern, where there are two horizontal, parallel gyak stripes with the barber pole design (flat, in two dimensions) depicting converging slanted stripes of two alternating colors, with one line’s stripes pointing down and it’s opposite one pointing up, creating a chevron motif but where the tips of the chevrons don’t touch, in other words, two gyak lines when taken together form what appears to be one horizontal line of repeating chevrons whose points don’t intersect, e.g., >>>>>>>>>. This pattern is often found along side the horizontal top lip of a Türkmen’s to:rba’s opening for collecting star energy.

tamgha –

n. 1 brand 2 stamp. Türkmen branded their cattle and horses, often with the historic tribal gö:l from their main rugs. Unique tribal insignia. They resembled our 19th century cattle brands. Each brand was a small symbolic drawing of the birds they venerated. The Salyr for example venerated the golden eagle. In the 11th century 24 Türkmen tribes had 'bird' tamghas, each with different drawings.

Taňry –

n. Taňry, God, Asman Taňrynyň mekany: The sky is God's dwelling place, ‘God of all the sky and earth’; this is a name used by the early Altaic tribes (who venerated the totem animals’ bear and wolf). The post-Oghuz Türkmen venerated birds of prey, The Salyr revered the Golden Eagle one of the eagle family’s 28 birds. See tengri.

Téké Türkmen –

The Téké Türkmens were one of the two largest but the most dominate Türkmen tribe in 19th century western Central Asia. The Ýomut Türkmen being the other. The Téké Türkmen descended from the Salyr Toi-Tutmas of the ‘Black Sheep and White Sheep Tartars’ of the Altai region. They did not enter into the Aralo-Caspian region en masse until the 11th century, emigrating west from the Altai with the Seldjuks and then migrating south into Turkmenia. In the late 17th century the Téké Türkmen migrated to the Ahal Oases from the Mangyshlak Peninsula. According to Larry Clark: "the major migrations of the Salyr, Ärsary, Sarik and Téké Türkmen to southern Turkmenia occurred in the 17th century". The Téké Türkmen migrated further south into the northern rim of Persian Khorasan in the 18th century and into the southern oases rim of Turkmenia. Bregel states that: "The Téké began their infiltration of the oases of northern Khorasan by the first half of the 18th century when these areas still nominally belonged to Nadir Shah". By the second half of that century they occupied the whole Ahal Oases all the way east to the Tedzhen river. The Ahal Oases skirt the ancient Persian Khiva border between the foothills of the northern slope of the Kopetdag Mountain and the Qara Qum Desert and parallels the ancient Persian Khivan border between the Persian and Mongol empires and east to the Morḡāb River basin and the Mar Oases.  This included the Ashkabat, Gök Tépé and Bakharden Oases. Having pushed out the Yemreli who then migrated to Khorezm (Khiva) the Téké Türkmen overran the Sarïq at the Old Sarakhs Oasis (who were forced south to the Pendjeh Oasis) occupying both regions.

The 19th century Central Asian Téké Türkmen could be broken down to three oasis based clans, the Ahal Téké, the Mar (Merv, Maru, Mary) Téké and the Tedjend Téké inaugurating their new ethnonyms. The old fortress at Tedjend (Tedzhen, Tedzen) was built in 1830 by the Ahal Tékés under Oraz Khan after the Persians drove the Tedjend Tékés back north to Khiva. (ref., ’Merv: The Queen of the World; and the Scourge of the Man-stealing Turcomans’).

In the early 19th century: "The country of the Tekeh Turcomans commences
at Kizil-Arvat and continues in a more or less connected line the whole way to
Merv, the distance by the nearest line being about 400 miles but it is hardly
possible that any Army could follow this direct desert route. The skirt of hills
along this line is divided into three districts: the Akhal Atock (Russian term for
district or province), the Deregez Atock and the Kelat Atock: the Akhal Atock
which extends for about 160 miles from Kizil-Aryat to Deregez is entirely
inhabited by the Akhal division of the Tekeh tribe of Turcomans…", ref.,
Rawlinson, H. C., 'The Road To Merv, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical
Society and Monthly Record of Geography’, Vol.1, No. 3, 1879, pp. 161–191,
ref., JSTOR.

The Téké Türkmen in the late 17th and early 18th centuries moved into the arable piedmont Ahal oases lying along the Kopetdag Mountains’ northern slope and continuing on into the Morḡāb river basin (Mar oasis) including Ashkabat, Gök Tépé and Bakharden and then on into Merv, Bayramaly and Tedzhen. Their ascendancy crested in the early 19th century when Russian Major Murav’yov’s count in 1819-21 put them at 50,000 kibitks or around 300,000 nomads at six per tent.

The Tékés captured the Ahal oasis in the first quarter of the 19th century and from here they foiled many of the Russian Army’s advances. The Ahal Tékés were the vanguard of Türkmen resistance to Persian and Russian armed incursions of the 18th and 19th centuries. They (Tékés) defeated the Khan of Khiva at the old Sarakhs Oasis in 1855 where he was killed. The Tékés’ were brought in from Old Sarakhs by Kaushid Khan to capture Merv by force in 1856 which they overran in 1857-1859. They displaced the Salyr and Sarïq tribes and forced any unassimilated remainders south to the Pendeh and Tedjend Oases where most were assimilated by the Ýomut.

The Russian conquest of Central Asia was delayed intermittently after several of their expeditions failed due to incessant bad weather and bad planning during the 1700’s. Catherine the Great is said to have had a vision of restoring Central Asia to its former Byzantine glory as a great Byzantine Empire. In 1715 the first Russian military expedition to the Kazakh Steppes under Peter the Great took place to quell Kazakh unrest. In 1717 the first expedition to Khiva ended in the surprise massacre of the Tsarist troops successfully executed by the Northern Ýomut for which they would later dearly pay in blood. These attempts by the Russians resumed in the 1800’s but were then interrupted again by the Crimean War. In 1869, the Russian’s started a base at Krasnovodsk on the north east coast of the Caspian Sea and from there they staged an expeditionary march eastward towards Khiva. After the American Civil War stopped cotton imports to Russia they (Russia) decided to turn Central Asia into Ak Altyn (white gold, i.e., cotton) to replace American cotton and began to speed up their conquest.  American cotton was introduced to Turkmenia in 1880 and soon much of their water was reallocated to grow cotton causing massive relocation of the northern Türkmens.

In 1881 after several battles with the Russian Army the Ahal Téké finally lost their stronghold fortress at Gök Tépé (more correctly Gök-dépé), however, it seems the actual name of the original fortification was 'Dengli Tépé, also the name of a small hill or tumulus in the northwest corner of the fort). This is where they were mercilessly run down and slaughtered with prejudice in the form of a heavy Russian hand in their bloody end of the Ahal Téké Türkmen at Dengli Tépé. Tragically, eight thousand fleeing Téké men, women, children and animals were bayoneted 'to the last man' under orders of the Russian Army General Skobelev. He deployed 11,000 Russian soldiers he brought in on the new Russian Trans-Caspian railway from Krasnovodsk. By 1884, the Russians had peacefully occupied the Mar Oasis. 1885 saw the completion of the Trans-Caspian Railroad which passed along the isolated Ahal Oasis to Mar amd the Murghab basin. Thus, with this train, the magnificent isolation of the Türkmen Steppe which allowed pure isolated and almost magical Türkmen weaving to flower un-ended for millennia, sadly, abruptly, by degrees, come to an end, forever.

Téké is the Türkmen word for the 'male goat or ram' they venerated often by hanging ram horns outside their tent's entrance. I have been unable to find any information as to when the Türkmens adoption of the name Téké (also spelled geçi in Türkmen dili) took place. So at one point in history the Türkmen became the Téké and were named the Goat-man or Ram (Téké ) Türkmen. A further extension of this translation could be the ‘White Beard Ram Türkmen’ which is my translation of ‘Ahal Téké Türkmen, where Ahal could mean 'white beard' (ak sakgal is white beard in Türkmençe, where ak is white and sakgal is beard in Türkmençe (Türkmen dili or language), also sakgal without the s is akgal which is very close to Akhal or Ahal and Akhal or more correctly spelled Ahal is 'white place' in Türkmençe. Ram is a specific animal totem name i.e., the primary ethnonym of the Téké Türkmen, which are names taken from things they revered and venerated. Ethnonyms are the names of peoples and ethnic groups whereas toponyms are names of places. (e.g., places named for geographical features) Most things white for were considered sacred as in any white quadruped, bird, or some super natural phenomena, including, perhaps, a vanquished tribe’s spirit or the 'sunny fire' of the celestial sun producing a terrestrial fire’s link with 'celestial fire'. Often misspelled as Tekke, Takka, and Tekky, the 'Ahal' Téké Türkmen (or the ‘White Beard Ram Türkmen’) were one of three large historical Central Asian Türkmen steppe tribes of the 19th century located mostly in the southern oases rim of Turkmenia and the northern rim of Persian Khorasan, i.e., Persian Turkestan and the Persian Steppe. The Téké Türkmen dialect (the same as the Ýomut dialect as both were spoken in Ashgabat in the 1920’s) is now the current modern literary language of Turkmenistan, but at great expense. By not including the other tribal dialects into the lexicon it creates the disappearance of many old Turkic rug terms, now left out after several millennium of traditional informant oral anecdotal passing down of the tribe’s history and knowledge. The other Türkmen dialects not included were Nohurly, Änewli, Hasarly, Nerezim, Salyr, Sarïq, Ärsary and Çowdur. The Téké dialect as spoken in Afghanistan is referred to as “Chagatai".

Perhaps as a tribute to their early weaving history the 19th century Tékés wove vestigial Turkish knots into their smaller rugs for several vertical columns going into the rugs from both side edges about two to four knots in width, while the rest of the knots were woven with the typical Persian or asymmetrical knots pulled open to the right. Were these Turkish (Ghiordes) knots a sort of remnant of the past when all Türkmen knotting was symmetrical? My bow is listing towards yes. The 16th through 19th century Turkic groups that were primary users of the Turkish knot were the Anatolian, Caucasian, Kurd, Türkmen and Persians. Persian nomads like the Persian Qashgai (a mis-transliteration of Kashgar) and the Afshar were Turkic speaking Kashgari who came from Kashgar in Chinese East Turkestan to Fars in southern Persia. Purer Türkmen weaving like that of the Ahal Téké Türkmen (in my opinion) used single wefts and asymmetrical square flat knots, the so called 'full or tall square Téké Türkmen knot, which only then could result in a 'full primary or major go:l' itself being square as well. Only full square Téké Turkish knots or flat square asymmetrical knots (Ahal) can produce full square primary Téké go:ls. The prodigious weaving of the northern yomut Türkmen primarily used the Turkish knot as well. The Saryk used mainly Turkish knots until the late 19th century when they started using an asymmetrical knot. Due to a huge increase in commercial demand during the second half of the nineteenth century plus the new railroad seventy five percent of all Téké Türkmen weavings were woven for sale in the Bukhara and Khiva markets.

19th century Téké Türkmen were known for how well they treated their women who had much more freedom as nomadic steppe women than their counterparts in all the other Türkmen tribes. They did not have to cover their faces and could go into any tent unchaperoned whenever they wished. The Téké Türkmen were also known for their religious tolerance. They had no state supported religion so other religions were not persecuted, unlike Persia and India. And they were indifferent to formal Islam. The Sufi 'brotherhood of the desert' was more suited to them even tough they were Sunni. The mystical side of Shia Islam. In 19th century Téké Türkmen nomadic tribes or semi-sedentary or sedentary villages was there ever seen any covered structure used for religious worship. The Téké Türkmens’ religiousity combined pre-Islamic folk paganism and Altaic animism (rituals connected with animal worship) with elements of tekke Sufi Islam which was mostly concerned with stopping the re-emergence of the pre-Islamic practices. Téké Türkmens did not develop powerful authority roles between adults. They had an acephalous political order within their social form of tribalism, all individuals being essentially equal in their non-state tribal social order. No Téké Türkmen warrior could ever be given an order in battle. They would become confused and think that you were implying they did not know what they were doing. They might even stop fighting and wander off. At the slightest sign of mistrust by a stranger they became deeply offended. The Turkomens say of themselves: ‘We are a nation without a head and we do not want any chiefs. We are all equal, among us each is his own Tsar. (Ref., Armenius Vambéry, 1880).

There were no officers or systems of rank or authority. Even the Sufi Mullahs had no power. They could only have power by not tainting themselves with power. They only united against a recognized enemy after which they disbanded. In wartime, they all quickly rallied around a chosen leader, the 'sardar'. At such times he became their chief public figure. As soon as the danger of war passed, the function and importance of the sardar ceased. (Ref., Unesdoc Digital Library, idem).

They fought like a pack of wild animals, attacking, breaking and re-attacking in unison. A favorite tactic was to run away quickly as if in retreat and then abruptly turn and attack. The Téké Türkmen had no concept of buying or selling land unlike the Mongols where land owners were considered aristocratic and elite. Türkmen tribes were ruled by 'elders' (ak sagals or 'white beards') who followed unwritten tribal customary law (cādat) giving only lip service to formal Islamic Sharia.

The prisoners were sold as slaves only if a ransom demand was not met. Türkmens would rather die than part with anything they robbed. If any Persian slave did not sell they might cut off their legs or gouge out their eyes and leave them so anyone else would not get them for free. Téké men often made Persian women slaves chew on raw leather to make it softer to make their boots.

Ultimately the Téké Türkmen women weavers were faithful custodians of their rug’s symbols and were 'but slaves to the portal'. (Ref., Kashani, Ardebil Carpet’s weaver’s signature panel, V. & A. Museum, London) Clearly, the rug symbol’s ancient names may pass, but the symbols never pass. Ancient symbols of Stars. Star cross medallions. Sun stars. Sun burst motifs. Star worshipers. Star energy harvesters. The Star worshippers of the Central Asian Ram Türkmen. The Téké Türkmen. The Türkmen Saints were their stars.

Turkmen admiring a Russian head

Türkmen admiring a trophy... a Russian head!

Téké Türkmen – Guş Gö:l –

The historic ‘bird lake’ ornament, its roundel field is four-partitioned or quartered, with opposing colors and designs in it’s center, inside an octagon, a tall, full, eight-sided roundel with a quartered center, being the ha:lyk’s (main carpet) heraldic emblem, both identifying and unique only to the Téké Türkmen tribe. Among the theories is the guş gö:l primary ornament is thought to be a loan symbol from Confucian China (500 BC) of an archaic Chinese roundel symbolizing The Great Chinese Circle of Life (ultimately, a yin-yang symbol called Pa-Kwa) where each of it's eight facets represent one of the eight diagrams (tri-grams) of Fuh-Hi from the Chinese “I Teh Ching” or Book of Changes (Mary Churchill Ripey, 1904). Tall, round, and quartered with either three arrows or three birds in the quartered center, and to me more birds appear to be in each of the corners as well. These go back to an 1100’s Arabic historian, who catalogued twenty-four Central Asian Türkmen tribes who venerated different predatory hunting birds, mostly from the eagle family. Each tribe was named after a bird that they venerated and each tribe had a tamgha or cattle brand representing that bird. The merging of those birds with the Chinese Great Circle of Life is archaic and represents a new primary emblem made up from past lost designs that no longer have a living culture that exists on Earth. Why did the adaption of these gö:ls as a tribal insignia result from the fusion of ancient non-Türkmen archetypes and symbols, how were these created, who chose them? Who decided to fuse them? What Shaman or Sufi teacher of the Ishane sect came up with this iteration of divergent religious archetypal symbols, like circles, octagons, crosses, squares and triangles. How did they come to be? How long did it take? Incredibly, this remains a cogent mystery that is still unanswered. See real rugs.

Perhaps because they are considered less important than main carpets there are less restrictions on the use of another tribe’s living Türkmen gö:ls on smaller tribal rugs, but not so with Main Carpets. There are vanquished major tribes that cannot weave another major tribes living gö:l on their Main Carpet. Although other tribes dead gö:ls, güls and minor emblems are basically free to substitute for their own native designs in their in smaller rugs, (even though it is allowed often they don’t do it, unless perhaps a woman marries into another tribe and weaves some of her own tribe’s designs into their smaller rugs that she now weaves combined of course with her new tribe’s ornaments. The weavers choose from many primary güls or minor emblems from a rich common hereditary repository of both living and dead gö:ls and güls in a sort of ‘gül pool’, which included designs borrowed from ancient pottery, wall art and medieval tombstone’s carvings in the ancient Türkmen cemeteries in the Great Balkans, this included dead gö:ls from both ancient and modern tribes preserved for them by surviving textiles with their designs intact, making them copyable and usable to Türkmen weavers and they eventually fused all together, most likely putting their own spin on them, reinventing them and thus making them their own, like the Salyr and the Ýomuts, both of whose major gö:ls were considered ‘dead’ so they borrowed designs from the other close by Oases tribes and whatever else they discovered along their journeys.

Tall, full, Téké gö:l’s height and fullness reflect their knot’s width to height ratio of 1:1, which is essentially square and the gö:l can then be as tall as it is wide, so allowed because of the proportions locked into their square knot. The ratio of the diameters of the warp and weft are also linked to the 1:1 knot ratio as well, depending on the desired weave, and whether the knots are symmetrical or asymmetrical. These Téké primary gö:ls are horizontally and vertically intersected by compartmented (protective, defensive) dark blue lines, which are Shaitan’s (the devil’s) color. The minor güls are linked only horizontally. This feature occurs in Ahal Téké ha:lyks and older smaller Ahal rugs. The four cardinal facets of the octagonal circle are represented in the I Teh Ching as moving lines combined with broken lines (trigrams) and these cardinally positioned trigrams represent the four elemental forces of nature, those being earth, air, fire and water. The ‘Circle of Life’ is known also as the Pa-Kwa, showing the eight diagrams (tri-grams) of Fuh-Hi. Thus, the octagonal Türkmen guş gö:l evolved from the ancient Chinese ‘Great circle of life’ as the ‘Pa-Kwa’ (Mary Churchill Ripley, 1904). The broken and moving lines represent the mean averages (essentially a mathematical model of the world) of all the possible combinations of the elemental forces in nature that would affect the destiny of the Ahal Téké Türkmen nomads (or any other beings). The lake gö:l symbol is used primarily on Türkmen ha:lyk rugs only and reflects a water cult, and an agrarian cult, along with other variants of cult symbology, including air and fire. Thus, the Türkmen cult symbolism of the early shamanist steppe animist tradition merges from the Chinese cult symbol, likely many millennium ago, and by eons of repeated repetition, evolved into the Téké Türkmen primary guş gö:l (bird-lake gö:l) that we know today. The remaining four super alternate facets of this octagon are the four other possible combinations of moving and broken lines that represent four lesser elemental forces in nature those being heaven, mountain, thunder and cloud. The four cardinal quadrants of the octagon also represent the important four-principle theory which includes the four cardinal points of the compass, the four seasons, the four original gospels and profession of faith, and most importantly the relationship between the divine and this world. Finally, in the center of the four-partitioned roundel are the two most powerful forces in nature being yen and yang or light and dark, male and female (the positive, yang male principle, i.e., the sun or seed as the giver of life, also daylight, aggressive) and dark (the receptive, yin, feminine principle i.e., the reflective nature of the moon, darkness or the absence of light) and thus the Chinese yin-yang symbol (Tae-Kieh) is surrounded by all the combinations of elemental force (changes) that make up the Great Chinese Circle of Life. In the Téké Türkmen gö:l, three birds (or three arrows) in each quadrant represent the three original Oghuz Türkmen tribes and the animal totem bird cult, from avian origins, where birds represent heaven and the soul of birds of prey express es freedom. Post-Oghuz Türkmen venerated predatory birds (oneghun) primarily from the eagle family (twenty-eight eagles in the family). Thus, the pagan animal cult assimilated the Chinese Taoist and Confucian cults with their water cult, and the sacred dirt, Türkmen: toprak cult or earth cult, where, according to legend, life begins in and dies in, and it rises again from dirt (death in Türkmen is ae:lem, mis-transliterated as elem; which is the lowest part of the hatchli, symbolizing death and the underworld, zamin) and returns to dirt and then is reborn in a never ending continuum (reincarnation?), all represented by the rug's symbology and a cosmology (“thus the microcosm of design can become an…allegorical representation of the real cosmos.” Uwe Jourdan,1989). Finally, a Christian cult plays an important part in 19th century Türkmen gö:ls and through their use of hidden Christian symbols representing elements of Armenian (the first Christian kings in the middle east) influence in designs of their small rugs through their plagiarism of Armenian letters, numbers, cruciforms and color symbology. These Christian symbols are pre-Islamic, and some readapted from pre-Christian religions existing thousands years before Mohammed or Jesus. The four-partitioned cross is one of these. Very ancient, archetypal and important. Others, like the diamond-cross medallions, belong to the traditional Türkmen design pool, which began long before Christianity. The star cross medallions incorporated the pre-Christian worship of the sun and stars and astronomy into ornaments that morphed into a cross and brought it forward to the Christian period, as possible veneration of the crossed genuflection? The meanings which may come from merely visual analysis, for obvious reasons of possession, were disguised and concealed by Türkmen women weavers in their small rug’s güls, emblems, fields and minor guard border patterns. It is a fact that in smaller rugs one clearly sees both hidden and exposed Armenian Christian symbols in the weavings of all the Türkmen tribes especially early on in the Western Central Asian area of Turkmenia. It is intriguing that the Türkmen women weavers gave their animal’s names to these ornaments that are descriptive in nature, but give no information as to their original meanings and how they worked, and that it would appear they were covertly trying to conceal or mislead others as to their true meaning, simultaneously making them theirs by animal personification which could reflect animal traits. The names became even more opaque and obscure in the 19th and early 20th centuries. As regards the hidden Christian symbols there is some speculation that the 19th century Salyrs from the Caucasus region were in fact at least part Armenian. It is known that Armenian artisans and weavers stayed in the Merv and Pendeh area in the 19th century rather than migrate to the Serakic region. I have mentioned the assertion that the Salyr entering Turkmenia from the Altaic region to the east in the 8th through the 11th centuries were Aryan, which could corroborate the theory that the birth place of the Aryan race is not in the Caucasus, but rather In the Altai Mountains, farther to the East. (Interesting note: The ‘Old Believers of the Altai’ were a group of Eastern Orthodox Christians between 1652 and 1666.) The Téké steppe tribes at one time practiced a monotheistic religion not connected with Islam, possibly Zoroasterian, or a form of Christianity fused with paganism or it could have been pre-Islamic Semitic occult sciences, and they often preferred the mystical side of Islam, in the form of teachings of a Shia Sufi Saint from Ardebil, Persia or perhaps Sufi teachers of the Ishane sect or, at one time, Nestorian doctrines of Christianity, but they were mostly influenced by the steppe dervishes whose Sufi temples were just off the edge of the steppes. These ‘brothers of the desert’ were more compatible with the ways of the ‘Masters of the Desert’ steppe animist nomads.

The Türkmen came west from the Sry Darya river area to Turkmenia following along with the Seldjuks starting in the 8th through the 11th century. Armenian religious symbols (called 'hidden Christian’ symbols’ ) Türkmen weavers copied include birds (rising Phoenixes portray life over death, as in the resurrection), dragons (the dragon symbolized death). A horizontal Armenian letter S is very similar to the algam minor guard border motif. This horizontal S is said to be the first letter in the Armenian word for God. Other symbols include lily flower crosses, repeating border flower (chrysanthemum) motifs representing the virgin Mary, western Greek Orthodox crosses, Coptic crosses, tree of Jesse (tree of life), red as the color of Christ’s blood, the reinvented use of the double ‘dd’ which is the sacred Armenian number four, ‘d’ being the fourth letter in the Armenian alphabet and referring to the relationship of the divine phenomenon with the world and the important principle of the four-way divided central pattern (the four gospels in the old Testament?) as shown always by the cross, the gochanak cross, the star-cross and the light-symbol cross (ref., The Christian Oriental Carpet). The incorporation of each of these ideological system's symbols, from all major forces of influence encountered in their world create a unique single empirical narrative embedded in their symbols. They faithfully copied these over eons and they morphed into codexes enclosed within further closed loop codexes, creating their own language out of non-verbal representations of their experience (shamanist’s cosmo-vision), based on selected parts of all the known world’s religions that they encountered throughout their experiences. Similar to the Universal Sufi’s syncretic mystical vision of the Universe, which incorporates various parts of all religions and pagan principles into their own paradigm, represented through their own symbolic devices, in a sort of pagan omniscience where Sufis know no borders and pay no dues as mendicants.

Ahal Téké Türkmen Guş Gö:l 

Téké Türkmen Major Gö:l

tekbent –

tegbent, also called sekme, a minor narrow guard border ornament in Türkmen to:bas showing repeated squared checkered crosses, alternating in dark and white. Similar pattern used in women’s leather belts. Also, refers to a minor narrow border pattern of repeating horizontally flattened serrated kamtoz diamonds, also called ‘sekme’. There appears to be two meanings for tekbent in current literature.

tengejik, tengelyk –

repeated narrow border pattern resembling a quincunx, a white die face showing five dots, either white against a black ground or black against a white ground, the pattern is also found in woman’s belts.

Tengri –


Tengri - Tengri –

The chief deity in Tengriism is Tengri, the ‘Sky God’.

Tengriism –

The chief deity in Tengriism is Tengri the Sky God.  Tengriism is non-dogmatic, (the Turkmen had no state approved or dominate religion). Tengrilism was a ancient shamanic religion practiced in Central Asia that includes aspects of shamanism, animism, totemism and ancestor worship.  Tengriism was followed by many other nationalities apart from the Mongols, such as the Huns, Bulgars, Turkic, and Altaic people.  

Tenri –

an other worldly correspondent called Tenri Tenri is evoked during ritual incantations for the removal of illness, by a Kazakh Shaman who is also the Chief and performs these trance inducing rituals as necessary for calling to and evoking his familiar known as the ‘blue wolf’ or ‘Jenni Jenni’ to heal illnesses. See jenigen. This requires a fully induced ritual trance, which could last several days, while the Shaman Chief circles the tent, falling in and out of the trance, all the while beginning and ending with certain prayers, with the sick child inside the tent, it took three days and the child was healed. See Tengri.


a wall, around a mound, city or fort. A walled fort or its ruins

toprak –

n 1 soil, earth, 2 land, country, mother earth, i.e., the sacred dirt cult. Türkmen even had small bags for their ‘sacred dirt’. In Farsi it’s spelled torbat, a noun meaning earth, tomb. (Persian Dictionary, J A Boyle, 1948).

toponym –

n a natural object or animal believed by a particular society to have spiritual significance and adopted by it as an emblem.

to:rba –

according to popular literature this textile is smaller than a çüwal, a more narrow rectangular single tent bag used for storage, cartage and transport, and as a apotropaic ceremonial animal trapping by the Türkmen nomads, e.g., dü:l to:rba (bag hung at the back of the tent facing the front entrance), guş to:rba (bird torba or a hunter's bag), çemçe to:rba (spoon bag) and igsalyk to:rba (spindle bag) are some of them (note: in Türkmen ig[salyk] means spindle).

totemism –

a system of belief in which humans are said to have kinship or a mystical relationship with spirit-beings, such as an animal or plant. The entity, or totem, is thought to interact with a given kin group or an individual to serve as their tribal spirit father.

totem –

A totem is a spirit being, a natural sacred object, or symbol that is adopted as the emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan, lineage, or tribe. Türkmen totems are the eponyms of their tribes and come from the names of the animals, plants and natural phenomenon, which are the objects of their veneration and which they adopt as their own. A part of the Shamanistic religions of the Altaic animist Turkic steppe peoples where the spirits of their ancestors were believed to live in their animals and the corresponging rituals of interaction. See Onighun.

toponym -

n a proper place name, especially one derived from a topographical feature, n a natural object or animal believed by a particular society to have spiritual significance and adopted by them as their symbol. A geographical name, a place name derived from a topographical feature. A toponym is the general name for any place or geographical entity. Related, more specific types of toponyms include hydronym for a body of water and oronym for a mountain or hill. A toponymist is one who studies toponymy. Toponymics is the study of the origins of place names. When a group’s self-identification originates from the name of the territory it inhabits. (Toponyms are for topographical)

Towuk Nusga –

refers to the ‘hen pattern’ (towuk is hen and nusga is pattern) in Türkmen gö:ls, especially flattened çüwal güls, where the center has the usual eight hens (sometimes called dogs or other animals) that also could be the Armenian ‘dd’ letter from the Armenian alphabet, representing the sacred number four (‘d’ is the 4th Armenian letter) and thus the four-partition principle of both a Christian cross and a pre-Christian cross, but are instead simplified by the women and made to look like eight hens or other zoomorphic animal designs and this makes these archaic designs more familiar to them and they become theirs. According to Gantzhorn, they are actually deceptions made to look like animals to conceal their real meaning. Like the altering of an Armenian letter to look like a camel. Almost a purposeful accident. Even more, a distraction, creating another layer of security, that keeps their ancient emblem’s meanings or purpose even more secret than simply being forgotten over time by weavers who no longer know what they mean but are programmed to weave them non-the-less.

transliteration -

is the process of transferring a word from the alphabet of one language to another. A transliteration gives you an idea of how the word is pronounced, by putting it in a familiar alphabet. To mistransliterate is to transliterate incorrectly. The act or product of transliterating is the representation of letters or words from one language into the characters of another language’s alphabet or script. To transliterate is to write or print (a letter or word) using the closest corresponding letters of a different alphabet or language.

Trukhmen –

Türkmen group living in the northern Caucasus in the Stavropol Territory thought to have material culture and ethnogenetically related to the eastern Europeans, the Persians and the Mongols, and related as a subgroup in the Çowdur (Chodor) Türkmen.

Transoxiana –

area between Syr Darya River and Amu Darya River in Central Asian. 'A great centre of Muslim civilization during the European Middle Ages, Transoxania was the centre of the Timurid empire in the 15th century, and its cities (e.g., Bukhara and Samarkand) were known worldwide' (Encyclopedia Britannica).

tujnuk –

Türkmen for the flu of the öÿ, located in the center of the dome and the opening through which smoke travels out of the tent and also is the oculus which connects them to the outer universe.

Turkish knot –

Türkic knot, Ghiordes knot - also horizontal knot or symmetric knot. Senneh knots are called Persian knots but this is incorrect since Senneh rugs are woven with Turkish knots. This knot takes a string and covers two warps from the top and wraps around their outsides and then under them and then together between the two warp strings and then pulled up where the strings are combined below the over span and then are pulled up both strings either pulled to the right or to the left and cut. It takes two Persian (asymmetrical) to equal the height of one Turkish knot. So, twice the number of Persian knots can be woven into any equal space. The highest form of mastery in pure Türkic weaving (using horizontal knots) uses a single weft and I refer to this as the 'Senneh weave' configuration and applies to both asymmetrical and symmetrical knots as long as they have a single warp and a single warp and weft. The greatest number of Turkish knots that can be woven into a square inch is 440. Pure Türkic weaving requires flat nodes when viewed from the back, that is the warps are even and not depressed when using a horizontal or symmetric knot that refers to the back of the Turkish knot. Türkic weaves that display depressed warps with Persian knots but with flat warps are less pure and reflect the Persian influence and are no longer purer Turkic weaving. There is a classic argument that weaving comes from the Mongols which would mean the Turkish knot came first and the Persian knot later. This (according to A.C. Edwards) is hard to accept since Mongol crusaders who first invaded Persia in the 7th century always left their woman at home when on a campaign and since it was the women who did the weaving this cannot be the case.

Türkmen –

pronounced Turk man, spelled Türkmen; Türkmen, where men = I and Türk = Türkic, therefore I, Turk or I am Turk. In 1994, they adopted a modern Türkmen literary language using the Téké Türkmen dialect as spoken in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan which was also spoken by the Ýomut in their dialect. (The other three major tribe’s dialect were not included making it more difficult to identify and catalogue old Turkic rug terms before they disappear). Türkmen are a member of the East Oghuz branch of the eight Turkic speaking peoples in the Turkic family of languages; its closest relatives being Turkish and Azerbaijani. In the early 19th century there were eight major Türkmen tribes in Central Asian Turkestan. That dwindled by the end of the 19th century to five major tribes. These five modern historical Türkmen tribes still exist and each of them have their historical tribal insignia, or heraldic roundel gö:l, on the national flag of Turkmenistan. The anglicized spelling is Turkoman (Persian spelling) or Turcoman or Turkman. Türkmen are Türkic speaking pastoral nomads, semi-nomadic cattle-men and semi-agrarian tribes with a material culture, descending from the early ‘white’ people, who went northward into Mongolia bearing Altaic speech, agriculture and later, horse nomadism. In the 19th century there were 1500 Türkmen tribal tires (clans) living along the Amu Darya River and mostly subject to the Khan of Khiva (the Emir was an Uzbeg). The five major historical tribes are the Téké, Salyr, Sarïq, Ýomut and Ärsary. Other major tribes are Çowdur, Arabatchi and Beshir. There are thousands of sub-tribes. The Türkmen practiced endogamy.

Turkmen language -

is a Turkic/Oghuz language. Turkmen belongs to the Turkic branch of the Uralic Altaic language family. It is included in the southern group of the Turkic branch along with Turkish and Azerbaijani. Turkmen is a member of the East Oghuz branch of the Turkic family of languages. Groups of Turkic-speaking people migrated to southwestern areas of Central Asia during the 5th-6th centuries AD. The largest migration occurred in the 10th century when Oghuz (an early Turkic word for "tribe") tribes migrated from Mongolia to the area between the Ural mountains and the Aral sea.
The Téké Türkmen dialect is almost the same as the Ýomut dialect (as both were spoken in Ashgabat in 1920) and is now the current modern dialect used as the official literary language of Turkmenistan.
The other Türkmen dialects are Nohurly, Ýomut, Änewli, Hasarly, Nerezim, Salyr, Sarïq, Ärsary and Çowdur. The Téké dialect is sometimes spoken in Afghanistan and is referred to as “Chagatai". At the beginning of the 20th century when the Turkmen language began to be written for the first time ever it used an Arabic script

Türkmen Sahra –

(Persian: ترکمن صحرا) is a region in the northeast of Iran near the Caspian Sea, bordering Turkmenistan, the majority of whose inhabitants are ethnic Turkmen.

Turkoman –

A major tribal confederation of twenty three Turkic tribes making up the Oghuz Confederation. Later it split up and those who lived in Turkey and Azerbaijan and Persia were called Turkoman and those who stayed in Central Asia were called Türkmen. The Turkoman is an ethnic minority who speak the Turkish language with an eastern Oghuz accent and they live in the Turkoman Sahra and in the Gorgan plain. The Turkomans of the south belong to the Caucasian race; the Turkomans of the north, the Kirghiz, the Uzbecks, and the Kipchaks, are Mongols; and the Tadjiks - called Sarts at Khiva - are Persians hybrids. There were nine Turkoman tribes.

tüýnük –

n 1 Türkmen word for the flu of the Türkmen öÿ’s roof, 2 smoke hole, hole in the sacred domed roof of the Türkmen öÿ.

tüýnük ÿüp –

chimney flute rope or (Dr. Andrews) wind rope or tujnuk rope, a narrow band woven with terme technique, hanging from the roof wheel inside a tent dome’s flu. This is a smaller version of a tent band, usually only four inches in height and 15-25 feet in length and is hung from the cross shaped roof wheel spokes in the tent dome opening depicting a ‘spiraling cyclical staircase to the heavens’. Channeling star energy down through the flu (tüynük) into the tent and down the rope on to the floor below where the star energy reverses the polarity of the floor’s dirt from negative to positive. See Tujnuk., the center hole of the Türkmen öÿ’s domed roof, or the flu of the öÿ.

turug –

Old Türkic for arrow, or tribal unit i.e., Ten Arrows Türkmen tribe (ten sub tribes) eventually migrated to China. Bovrek symbol on hatchli borders is also called bow and arrow.

tüýnük –

see Tujnuk., the center hole of the Türkmen’s domed roof, or the flu of the öÿ.

yölam –

Türkmen word for their tent band. Central Asian origin. Often referred to as ÿüp or ak ÿüp, baskur, bou, yolami, iolam or ghadjeri. These terms are used to describe a flat woven or less often (and more decorative) a knotted wool band or belt functionally used to surround and add tension to a nomadic tent's circular ribbed trellis. Strips woven for daily use are usually flat woven with a supplementary weft brocade (compound brocading) where the over pattern's lines are floated on top of a foundation (terme technique) using hand drop spindled spun natural color goat's wool yarns woven on a standard Türkmen ground loom. Nomads used ground looms, and wove while kneeling next to it, close to the ground, the loom width corresponds to the width of her arm, which was as far as she could reach, the loom was narrow and long to weave strips. Tent bands and yups are usually woven in a flat weave with additional supplementary weft brocading of patterns that are reversed from the back.and are closed finished on both sides, again with reverse patterning. They are desert strong and durable and usually around 46 to 50 feet in length and a foot plus in height, so the tent width would be about eighteen feet wide. Ceremonial tent bands were more embellished, as they were used for very special occasions and often made with more precious materials (silk, linen) and some show wedding camels, etc., over woven on a flat usually white or light ground (äk ÿüp), some in a cut and voided technique. Although both types of bands are decorative in function and style the ceremonial ones are finer and are woven for special occasions. I suspect their totemic function is to protectively encircle the öÿ and it's occupying family, newly weds, relatives, and visitors, and their spirit, as a defensive spell binder to protect and empower them and thus secure them from evil, in a sort of protective spiritual force. Narrower bands, called wind ropes, or ak ÿüp, secure a talismanic position hanging from the roof wheel inside the center hole of the tent’s sacred dome, through the flu, or tüynük portal, channeling star energy down through the portal to the ground under their feet and positively reversing it’s negative polarity. The same occurs in South Pacific Fijian lodges, where ‘tapa’ clothes hang down from rafters to conduct positive heavenly energy down to the dirt floor to reverse its polarity. The ‘roof wheel’ inside the tüynük portal is known as ‘heaven's gate’ and is located in the öÿ’s domed center roof hole, sometimes referred to as the ‘wheel of fortune’, some also call it the gö:l of the Türkmen.

Ýomut Türkmen Confederation–

The Ýomut Türkmen Confederation consisted of the Yaqa Ýomut Türkmens (closest to the Caspian Sea’s south east shore) and the western (or southern) tribes of the Atabai Yamūt and the Jafarbai Yamūt aka Atrek Yamūt Turcomans. These Persian Turcomans occupied the Persian (Sahra) Steppe in the Gūrgān river valley in Persian Khorasan that lies between the Gūrgān river and the Atrek river banks. Their sworn enemy, the Gūklān Turkomans, were settled just to their east and north were their cousins the nomadic eastern Ýomut Türkmen encamped in the Old Khwarezm and Khivan oases. The 19th century Yamūt of Iran had six branches.

The Ýomut (Türkmen spelling) or the Yamūt (Persian spelling) depends on their location. For Persian Turcoman country I use Turcoman and in Türkmen dili (Türkmen country) I use Türkmen. The Yamūt spelling is found on 19th century Persian maps and the Ýomut spelling is found on the Russian and European maps of Türkmenia of the same period. Persian and Ýomut Türkmens claim to be remote descendants of Salur, grandson of Genghis Khan. All Ýomut Türkmens believe they came from one ancestor, Salur, called Kazan Alp (Alp means hero) who is one of the most legendary heroes of the Türkmen. The western and southern Turkoman Yamūt (spelling in Persian Turkestan) were divided into four tribes, descended from four brothers, whose father was named Yamūt who is considered to be the father of their race (Ref., Baron C.A. de Bode, 1885). The Daz tribe of the southern Yamūt Turkoman maintained that they were descended from Kings and therefore were the noblest section of the Yamūt Turcomans (Ref., History of Persia, Vol I, p 330). The Daz considered themselves of pure Türkmen blood which is why their women won’t marry outside the family. There are whole tribes among the Gūklān called the Kelte who are generally half blonde.

The Ýomut Türkmen Confederation were the largest of six major Central Asian Türkmen tribes in the 18th century and are one of five such tribes remaining today. Prior to 1860, the six major Türkmen tribes were the Téké (most dominant), the Salur (considered the most historical and oldest of the Türkmen tribes), the Ýomut Confederation, western and eastern, the Pendjeh Saryk, the Ärsary and the Çowdur (the most northern of the Central Asian Türkmen tribes).

The Ýomuts considered themselves to be the purest Türkmen tribe through descent. They continued to weave their native Turkish knots (called Ghiordes knots or horizontal, flat, even or symmetrical knot) long after the other tribes adapted to Persian knots most likely because of their proximity to Persia. The Caspian Sea’s Ýomut rugs were more colorful than their eastern counterparts because of their proximity to the Caucasus. The Persian Turkomans of 19th century Persian Turkestan’s Khorasan region (also called the Persian Steppe) were composed of the Yamūt clans of the Atabai and Jafarbai (named after Jafar) Turkomans both settled just south of the Caspian Sea in the Persian Steppe with encampments on both banks of the Atrek river down to the. There is some confusion as to which lived exactly where. Some maps show the Atabai farthest to the west and south of the Caspian Sea and then the Jafarbai to their east while other maps show the Jafarbai as most western and closest to the Caspian Sea and then the Agh-Atabai to their east. The 19th century nomadic demonym name 'Atrek' Yamūts ranged around the lower east coast of the Caspian Sea and moved up into the lower Balkans when summer pasturing and south to the Gūrgān plains during the winter, an estuary nestled in between the Atrek and Gūrgān rivers in the Gūrgān (also Persian) steppe. The Persian Turkomans were comprised of essentially two groups, the agrarian sedentary 'Chomur' Yamūts who occupied both banks of the Gūrgān river further to the south where the soil was richer and along side them were the Yamūt nomadic pastoralists called 'Chova' Yamūts, who camped to the immediate north of the Chomur Yamūt. Both groups inter changed occupations and locations occasionally depending on their fortune. Both still continued whatever alamans (raids) they thought they might get away with. The Gūklān Turkoman (Persian Steppe) and the Gökleng Türkmen (spelling in Turkmenia) were the same group just different spellings. They were located immediately south of the Yaqa (coastal) Ýomut and to the east of the Jafarbai and Atabai Yamūts and to the west of the Ahal Oasis and its Ahal Tékés and the Mar (Merv, Maru) oasis and its Mar Téké Türkmens. Their öýs (tent homes) were pitched in the beautiful wooded valleys and plains along the Gūrgān river valley in Gūklān country. Farsi spellings are seen on a large folded map of Persia from the late 19th century book ’The History of Persia’ showing the Jafarbai, as the closest of the western Yamūts (the Persian Turkomans) to the Caspian Sea and then the Atabai to their east. Equally, other maps have their positions reversed. The Persian spelling is Gūklān but in Türkmenia its spelled Gökleng. Note: Tamerlane is a contraction for Timur-leng or Timur the lame, who was lame, therefore 'Tamerlane'. Lane, leng or lan all mean the same thing: lame, crippled, or 'hobbler'. Gökleng in Türkmeni means gök, 2, n, green and leng as hobbler ergo the 'green hobbler'. The Gūklān were indeed eponymously named for this 'green hobbler' who was the source of a great enmity between the Gūklān and their Turkoman neighbors due to the legend of the 'green hobbler' who destroyed the Kaaba, which was originally in Turkmenia, causing it to be moved to Saudi Arabia instead.  "The Turkoman recounted, with respect to the ruins, that God, from a special love for the brave Turkomans, had placed the Kaaba first here instead of transporting it to Arabia, but that a green devil, who was at the same time lame, named Gökleng (i.e., green hobbler) from whom the Göklengs were descended, had destroyed it (oral testimony). The insolent act of their ancestor is the reason, added the savage etymologist, why we live in hostility with that tribe." (Ref., Prof. Armin (Arminius) Vambery, 19th century Hungarian Armenian Turkologist, Linguist).

In the 16th century the western Ýomut Türkmen were pastoralist nomads in the Mangishlak Peninsula ranging south in the mountain pastures of the Little Balkans. By the end of the 16th century most of the eastern Ýomut Türkmen tribes were under the nominal control of two sedentary Uzbek khanates, Khiva and Bukhara (Bukhara being the most dominate). In the late 17th century the Ýomut split into two groups, the western Yamūt by the southeastern Caspian Sea area and the eastern Ýomut surrounding the Khivan Khanatecy. (Ref., Edinburg New Philosophical Journal, Vol. 37) Unlike the Gökleng Ýomut in 19th century Khorasanian Persia, the eastern (northern) Ýomut Türkmen remained in the Khivan Khanatecy (Khwarezm). A Gökleng group migrated from Persian Turkestan to Khwarezm in 1817 through 1847 because of threats of attack from both the Khan of Khiva and the Qajar Persian Army, but despite even further risks of attack from their sworn enemies, the fierce Ahal Téké, they returned to their lush estuary of the Gurgān valley in 1856 (Ref., Y. Bregel’s Central Asian Historical Atlas, map 36B). The eastern Ýomut Türkmens continued their nomadic lifestyle under the Emir of Bukhara’s protection in return for occasional raids on the Emir’s behalf against Persian intruders (or others) and continued to do so until around 1900. Second half of the 19th century raids and rebellions by the eastern Ýomut Türkmens against their Mongol rulers resulted in that group’s dispersal by their Uzbek overlords. A 19th century Ýomut group located on the lower east coast of the Caspian Sea has been identified as the Yaqa Türkmens. (Ref., Dr. Murray Eiland; Y. Bregel names them the Qara Choqa in his Central Asian Historical Atlas’ map 36b) The Atrak Yamūt were nomads who inhabited the south coast region of the Caspian Sea camped on both banks of the Atrak River. The Gūklān Turcoman settled to their east in the Persian Steppes between the Atrak River and the Gūrgān River. "In wooded, fertile and beautiful valleys abundantly watered by mountain streams". "The Gūklān ascribe their origin to two brothers, Dudurga and Alghidagli". (Ref., Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, Volume 37, 1844) The Encyclopedia of Islam states that the Gūklān were in the Persian Sahra (Persian Steppe) for 700 years. Yamūt Turkomans the were sworn enemies of the Gūklān, who were not real Turkoman nor nomadic per se but sedentary and agrarian, even practicing sericulture, fishing and sheep herding and later cotton farming in the Persian Steppe. However their most famous product were their carpets. (Ref., Encyclopedia of Islam, New Edition, 1970, Vol II, p 1118).

Location of the 19th century Atabai and Jafarbai Ýomut Tribes

Part of the Yamūt Persian Turkomans were eponymously named with the demonym Atrek . The Atrek Yamūt established pastoral nomadism while camped on both banks of the Atrek river in the Persian Steppe during the 18th century. In the 19th century, they roamed the Gūrgān valley and plains between the Atrek river (Persian for 'skirt', spelled Etrek in Türkmeni) and the Gūrgān river just 19 miles from the Caspian sea and continuing their nomadic pastoralism seasonally up into the elevation of the Little Balkans. The Gūrgān area is famous for the 'Walls of Gūrgān', or Alexander’s Walls, which was a line of ancient stone fortifications built by Alexander the Great over a thousand years before the Great Wall of China.  The Jafarbai and Atabai Yamūt Turkoman tribes of 19th century Persian Turkestan were camped in the beautiful valleys of the Gūrgān plain, the Dasht i Gūrgān, which is a vast plain of low relief almost on the southern end of the Caspian Sea which lies like a wedge between the Qara Qum and the Iranian Desert and is watered by the rivers Gūrgān-rud and Atrek. (Ref., 'The Decline of Iranshahr - Irrigation and Environment in the Middle East, 500 BC-AD 1500' by Peter Christensen, 2015).

Loosely speaking, the Ýomut were tongue-in-cheek Sunnis but gave homage to customary tribal family law first and practiced Altaic pagan animism (animal worship) rituals second and Sufism third with Islam last. Their women did not marry outside the tribe (endogamy) since to do so could cause blood feuds. The eastern (northern) Ýomut quartered far up to the north in the Oasis of Old Khwarezm which then occupied the Amu Darya’s salt delta close to the Aral Sea. This region of Khwarezm was originally part of the Chagatai Khanate (Trans-Oxonian Central Asia) before it was Turkicized and gained semi-autonomy as the Khanate of Khiva under the hegemony of its Uzbeg Mongol overlords from the powerful Bukharan Khanate. (Ref., Wikipedia).

Three main Turcoman tribes wove carpets in the Persian Khorasan for a considerable length of time. The largest of the three were the Yamūt Turcomans which had many sub-tribes and clans. The second largest were the the Gūklān tribes who settled in the east area between the Atrek and Gūrgān rivers. It should be of little surprise that Persian Turkoman weaving primarily used asymmetrical knots considering that they were in Persia. Here I use Persian spellings since the Türkmen in situ were in Persian Turkestan. Etrek in Türkmeni means 'skirt' which is what the river did - it 'skirts' the Kopet Dagh mountains’ southern slope in Persian Khorasan, a natural division creating the ancient border between Persia and Khiva (the adjoining Türkmen country). Rugs woven by the Gūklān were then and still are often mis-attributed to the Ýomut. (Ref., Azadi, 1986) The third tribe were the Téké (pronounced Takka in the Türkmeni eli) who were settled in their Ahal Oases strung along the northern slopes of the Kopet Dagh Mountains in the southern oasis rim of Turkmenia including the Ahal, Merv, Tedjend, Sarakhs and Pendjeh oases, all rising from the long narrow arable strip of piedmont land between the Kopet Dagh mountains and the Qara Qum desert.
The eastern Ýomut absorbed many small dispossessed groups into their tribe while under Mongol protection including the Imreli, Igdyr, Abdal, Ata, Arabatchis, Gökleň, Salyr and Saryk. Usually spelled (in Arabic and Farsi) as Yomoud, Yomout, Yomud or Yamut (in Türkmen eli however, there’s no ‘d’ at the end of any word, but rather a ’t’).

After recurring trade problems the Türkmen severed their relations with Russia in 1860 (Ref., Abamov, MBA Thesis, TSU). Thirteen years later the Russian Army attacked the eastern (northern) branch of Ýomut Türkmen at Khiva after the Khivan Khan fled but later returned to surrender Khiva to the Russians at Khiva in 1873 and remained as their surrogate puppet. The Russians made 'no quarter' a reprisal point during their sanguinary decimation of the defeated Ýomut, who fleeing towards Merv were mercilessly cut down by Russia’s General Konstantin von Kaufmann's orders to his Cossack cavalry at Kizil Takir "to run down and bayonet every fleeing Ýomut man, woman, child and animal, to the last one!" When General Kaufmann took Khiva in 1873 he liberated 17 thousand Persian slaves. When Bukhara was taken, 40,000 Persian slaves were freed including Russian, English and German slaves as well.

During the 19th century (the last century of indigenous Türkmen weaving) the Ýomut wove the greatest number of articles than all the other Türkmen tribes. They wove hunting bags, door surrounds, portieres, saddlebags, bread bags, spoon bags, personal bags, hunting bags, spindle bags, clothing bags, tent pole bags and sacred camel knee pads (düÿe dyzlyk). Their main carpets’ primary gö:ls included the dyrnak gö:l and the kepse (gaba) gö:l (both used often without minor or secondary güls which all the other tribes use) and the towuk nusga gö:l (the ubiquitous ‘hen pattern’, which looks like the letter H repeated twice and comes in twos and fours, e.g., HH HH). The western Ýomut wove the largest variety of major gö:l designs into their main carpets than all the other Türkmens and used more varied colors than their eastern (northern) cousins in the Khwarezm.

The Téké dispersed the Ýomut from the Balkhan end of the west Ahal Oases in the early 19th century south to the Atrek Valley, which had been occupied by the Gūklān Turkoman. The Téké Türkmen then pushed the Salyr and the Saryk out of the Merv Oasis with the remaining (Salyr) being assimilated into the Ýomut. "For the Persian Turkmen of the Gūrgān Plain… their loss of sovereignty began in the late 19th century when the Russians conquered the Yomut north of the Atrak River." (Ref., Wm Irons, 'The Place of Carpet Weaving in Turkmen Society', Turkmen Tribal Carpets and Traditions catalogue for a 1980 exhibition by the Textile Museum).

Location of The 19th century Turkoman Yomut Tribes of Persian Turkestan

ÿüp –

rope, narrow flat woven brocaded tent band, from 15-25 feet in length. It has symbolic defensive power and utilitarian use as well. Suspended from the roof wheel and touching the ground, it channels star energy downward reversing the polarity of the ground under their feet. This 'wind’rope' was considered by some Shamans to be a sort of tree of life as well, in the sense that its long and narrow and reaches toward the heavens while touching the earth. A perfect model of dynamic processes in a vertical line and thought to have a valuable spiritual life inside. So it was a star energy channeler and a spiritual tree of life for passing souls into the next world.


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