Türkmen - English Rug Term Glossary by Clay Stewart

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 in this project to compile this glossary. It is a dangerous business. Additionally, I will use this forum to develop and refine my hypotheses as to the meaning of the many symbols to be found in Türkmen rugs. I had a great deal of help along the way from sources to which I owe the following thanks: for many translations, corrected mistransliterations and accurate spellings, I am indebted to Prof. Youssef Azemoun and for others to Sergai Mouraviev. For 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 to the Dictionary of the Turkic Languages. Further insights into the orthography of their historic linguistic and ethnographic background of the subject, as well as information on the genesis of the major Türkmen tribes come from Prof. Mirfatyh Zakiev, author of Origin of Türks and Tatars.

In an effort to respectfully return certain spellings and definitions of ürkmen rug terms to their rightful domain and with the aim of further standardizing their orthography I decided early in this project to compile this glossary. It is a dangerous business. Additionally, I will use this forum to develop and refine my hypotheses as to the meaning of the many symbols to be found in Türkmen rugs. I had a great deal of help along the way from sources to which I owe the following thanks: for many translations, corrected mistransliterations and accurate spellings, I am indebted to Prof. Youssef Azemoun and for others to Sergai Mouraviev. For 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 to the Dictionary of the Turkic Languages. Further insights into the orthography of their historic linguistic and ethnographic background of the subject, as well as information on the genesis of the major Türkmen tribes come from Prof. Mirfatyh Zakiev, author of Origin of Türks and Tatars.

I am also sincerely indebted to Joyce Bell Rush of Summerville, 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 specially 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.

Finally, I am both personally and professionally grateful to Volkmar Grantzhorn 's The Christian Oriental Carpet for information on the absorption of Armenian cultural into the Türkmen tribes of West Central Asia by means of their copying of hidden Christian symbols into their textile's gö:ls and güls, especially absorbed into their rugs by the 19th century Oases groups living in the Merv and Pende areas during their renaissance of reincorporating the diminishing designs, symbols and techniques of Salyr weaving into their textiles. This practice reveals fascinating opportunities for the study and interpretation by modern rug scholars of the true meanings of Turkmen rug symbols.

Notes on terms:
The Turkmen language is not now taught in any university in the U.S. or in Canada.
Russia had interfered with foreign research on the textiles of Central Asia since their military subjugation of the area during the last quarter of the 19th century. Later, the Tsarist imposed isolation of the region, its physical remoteness, and the absence of any written Türkmen language coupled with the post-Bolshevik Revolution's party's early depersonalization efforts through statism within the Türkmen groups and their culture resulted in an adulterated history of disappearing old Turkic rug terms. Because their traditional land was literally closed to outsiders most of their language was imposed Russian, European and lastly, English. They replaced true Old Turkic rug terms with their own modern Anglicized loan words, phonetic mistransliterations and regional spelling or their phonetic equivalent from the imposed modern Russian, European and American terms which all passed into the current carpet literature, resulting in many of the current misspellings, mispronunciations and mistransliterations of these terms. The recent (1994) adoption of a modern Türkmen literary language (Teke and Yomut dialect as spoken in Ashgabat) over the previous language based on oral tradition has also erased many Old Türkic rug terms.

Notes on pronunciation:

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

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

ş is pronounced as sh a so şot is pronounced shot

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

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

ÿ as in yes

: a colon occurs after a vowel indicating a long vowel,

Long vowels require pronouncing short vowels for the duration of two vowels,
long or short vowels determine different meanings for the same word.

Abrash –

Naturally occurring horizontal striations in rugs caused by monochromatic color fading. Abrash first occurs in 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 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 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, undyed, clear, glass-like follicles. The amount of wool fading varies due to the yarn's position and the intensity of conditions. Fading clears dye out of the 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, 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. This effect is buoyed by the presence of lanolin which should always be in the wool.
Thus the magnification caused by a bleached follicle's new optical device effect enhances the underlying dye color to the eye and softens its harshness and brightness. Natural fading is the most desirable method of achieving these softer colors and patina. Modern lime and soda immersion treatments attempt to speed up and duplicate this effect but weaken the wool. Abrash occurs only with natural vegetable dyes as chemical dyes are usually too stable. It 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 unless the dye is compound, then the color removed is one of the compounds and the color that remains 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 to the wool and though the effect is dramatic it looks burned and is different from the natural process of vegetable dyed yarn fading. Abrash can also be woven in by weaving in lighter shades of yarn but in 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 of flat weaves. Abrash is compounded 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 correct fixing or loosely dyed due to the incorrect fixing by mordants. 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 matter is released 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. Outer 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 mixed batches of both high and inferior grades of wool, the latter having subsequently faded. Friction from use strips color from the wool also. Rugs stored well away from light fade slower. Tribal and village weavers are isolated with little access to quality mordants and dyes (esp. in Anatolian kilims). Loose dyes are woven into kilims knowing that it will create changing color in the kilims creating art. They don't value expensive dyes from more populated areas. The word abrash has (humorously?) been suggested (by H. Jacoby) to be a mistransliteration of "hair brush".

Ae:lem –

elem mistransliteration and in Türkmen means death. This relates to the life death continuum symbology in their rugs, where all things come from dirt and return to dirt. Thus the so called elem is really the field of dirt in an apron or fore field of a çüwal that the tribe dwells on or toprak cult. Thus the çüwal is actually a diorama of their setting.

Ak sü or ak süw –

Türkmen expression for white water, ak is white and süw refers to moving water referring to the 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.

Ak Öÿ –

White house literally, in Türkmen, a new tent home is said to be an ak öÿ. The dome of the tent was endowed with supernatural powers. To a Turkmen it represents a smaller sized version or microcosm of what the Turkmen sees all around him. A ornamental composition of at least six gapylyks are formed on the öÿ's dome making a circle around the flu. The Turkmen believed that the sky and the Earth are divided into seven layers, each of which is represented by an angel and each angel had specific influence. These names correspond to the 7 days of the week. The 7 borders in a gapylyk represent these as well as other forms having seven connected to them. The arrangement of them is of importance. It is possible that the öÿ's dome was used for celestial evocations or 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. If their tent were a 3-dimensional model of a Türkmen gö:l in the form of the octagon and the roof wheel of the dome's center is a star cross and the center is the sun, then these placements were necessary for the Turkmen to navigate the cosmos of potential blessings associated with their rituals.

Ak ÿüp –

Ceremonial white tent band (string). White is a sacred color with apotropaic functions and a symbol of status and rank. White, embellished ak ÿüps are for formal occasions like weddings and receptions. White wool is specially selected from all wools and is more valuable and it is given special significance like other venerated white entities, like camels, cattle, horses or white tents. White signifies the masculine yang life force of daytime sunlight, the provider of life.

Alaca ÿüp –

A black and white plaited rope used to hang the wedding curtain at the rear of the tent and used to suspend talismans, two colored wool braids of black and white plied together.

Anahita –

Türkmen goddess of fertility.

Apron –

See elem, the skirt or apron in a çüwal is the foreground field of the encampment.

Archetypal gö:l –

Each of the five major 18th and 19th century Türkmen tribes has a single hereditary gö:l which is unique only to that tribe and essentially heraldic, historic and symbolic in function. It is the emblem that identifies them (much like a high school or college insignia combined with colors in American culture) 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. There is ample evidence to suggest a recurring design implementation over time; and the reappearance of certain design elements and ornaments throughout 4 centuries indicates there was an overall design pool that possibly outdates this period, suggesting an even earlier gö:l pool from which all groups chose their designs. This pool was universal and available to any iteration of tribal groupings as a common heritage in that the designs repeat themselves throughout the length of their culture, despite self styled ones that have been kept to certain tribes apart from the others The Türkmen venerated birth, death and marriage as shown by their symbols. The symbols also codify their relationship to the cosmology of the three metaphysical worlds of spiritual and human existence. Each gö:l representing a male female dryad unit living in harmony with each other and with the other dryad and the apron is their actual field in front of the encampment or the fore ground and the border shows the sun orbiting around the tribe, light during the day and absence (dark) at night as it migrates around the tribe on its yearly journey. The octagon is also the sun in the shape of an eight pointed star.
The language of these ornaments is consistent and universal and the symbols are religious and cultic, borrowed from the Islamic, Sufi Dervish, Buddhist, Shamanistic, Pagan, Christian, Zoroastrian, Devil worshippers religions; both totemic and talismanic. Their textiles are filled with a 3-dimensional structural balance and symmetry, both in their ornamentation and their structural design as well. This reflects their inherent demand (need) for order in the form of systematic and balanced representations of their relationship with their world in their non-verbal language of an ethnographic codex. They represent this codex in their material culture of textiles, ornamental jewelry and tents. What they see outside their tents is the outer world and they systematically codify that world into a cultic and talismanic working model of the world which through it they can gain ritual control of their environment. A tent then becomes in effect a 3-dimensional gö:l itself, capable of performing powerful ritualistic inter-relationships with a surrounding world and creating these structured balances throughout an eternity of trial and error and refinement of these rituals. These tribes demand and must have this balance to exist in their environmentally chaotic world and this is reflected in the remarkable symmetry of their ornamental structures in their textiles and tents. These structures reflect the Türkmen historical cosmology in a nonverbal book or codex made up of a nonverbal language of symbols that is the essence of their being. Tents and rugs are 3-dimensional mandalas that work simultaneously, inward and outward, socially and spiritually, steering them through the dangers of the world to its causal beneficial effects.

Ar Sary –

(Ersari Türkmen tribe) – anglicized spelling is Ersari, Ersary, Irsari in current rug literature. One of 3 largest Türkmen tribes in 19th cent. Central Asian Turkmenia and one of five major historical Türkmen tribes. Ar or er translates to man in Türkmen and sary is yellow or blonde, literally yellow man or blonde man. Thus Yellow Man Türkmen or Aryan Türkmen tribe. They quartered on the right bank of the Amu Darya river area during 19th and 20th cent. period under the influence of the Khivan Khan and by cooperating, they were spared annihilation by the Russian Army during the late 19th cent.as opposed to their cousins on the left region of the river. More of their rugs appeared at that time in the Bukharan markets than any of the other Türkmen tribes. They migrated to Afghanistan in the early 20th cent. to escape from Russian pressure. They wove the largest number of main rugs and of somewhat smaller size than the other tribes probably due to commercialism from the Khivan domestic demand. It was also during this period that they merged designs with the other tribes (Salyr, Saryk, Arabachis and Çowdur) located in the middle reaches of the Amu Darya River creating a great deal of cross-pollinating designs. Several subgroups of the Ar Sary include Kizil Ayak (red foot), Beshir (Beshir is Sart dialect for Bukhara) and Charshangu.

Aşhyk gö:l –

Often misspelled Ashik and in Türkmen literally meaning goat knuckles ornament and as such were used in a popular Türkmen game. The motif is sometimes referred to as the curled leaf pattern and is usually shown as a serrated diamond form with a vine inside the diamond, often with 3 other diamond motifs clustered and surrounded by an outer diamond shaped outline. It is theorized that some older versions have vine lines or tendrils that show a kink in them or other variations of line irregularities. Often diamonds are enclosed by a larger half-serrated diamond outline, thus 4 serrated diamonds within an outer diamond outline. One Russian ethnographer says that it represents archaic grape leaves and thus it is a plant totem form. Most often found in the inverted U-shaped decorative napped weavings of the Türkmen gapylyk or khallyk, less often found in to:rbas or other forms.

Aşhyk To:rba –

Small slender rectangular bag used to store ladels or knucklebones with the ashyk gül knuckle bones from the goat used for millennia to play a game.

Ayätlyk –

Türkmen for funerary rug, ayät = memorial ceremony, lyk = a thing for. Sizes vary according to whether a child, an adult or a family is buried and left on the grave. Some Turks wrapped up their dead and hung their bodies from trees, tree of life totem.

Aÿna gö:l –

Often anglicized and spelled Aina gö:l, refers to a small rectangular box shaped göl with various elements inside and called the mirror gül appearing usually in small Türkmen rugs, bags, etc. Aÿna to:rba is a mirror bag for feminine possessions (including mirrors) and part of her dowry complete with apotropaic significance for the new bride.

Ayna Kalta –

Sumka (teke dialect) mirror bag, men in the Turkmen 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.)

Atanak –

Türkmen for cross this being the archetypal Armenian Christian symbol of a cruciform even though the cross predates Christianity.

Atanaklyk Barmak –

Türkmen for finger, gilin barmak motif called the bride's fingers motif.

Bactria –

Pre 6th cent. kingdom located in the Transoxian territory of Central Asia located from north of the Oxus (Amu Darya) river and south to northern Afghanistan.

Bactrian camel –

Double hump camel indigenous to Central Asia and now nearly extinct.

Bogolybubov, A. A., Gen. –

Tsarist military Governor of the Transcaspian region from 1880-1901 and he subjugated the major Türkmen tribes especially the Téké and collected examples of their weaving which he catalogued into the first 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 comprises the Russian museums collections.

Çowdur Türkmen –

One of the historical 5 major Türkmen tribes. Their 19th cent. home is northern most of all the tribes. In Khwarezm, on the eastern bank of the Caspian Sea above the Kara Kum desert and south of the Aral Sea and in northern Caucasia (related to the Trukhmen). Anglicized spelling is Chodor or Chodur in current carpet literature. Towuk Nusga is the major gö:l in their main carpets. (Towuk is hen and nusga is pattern). Due to political pressure in the early 19th century they fled from the Manqishlaq Peninsula and Khwarezm to the regions along the middle reaches of the Amu Darya along with the Salors and the Saryks and the Ar Sary.

Çemçe gö:l –

Anglicized spelling is chemche, it is Türkmen for spoon; Çemçe To:rba is a bag for spoons, refers to the minor secondary gül in main Türkmen rugs and minor emblem in many other small rugs, bags, trappings etc.. It is a Greek cross with Gochak motifs at the ends (revering female goddess cult) 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 four seasons totem; Earth, Air, Fire and Water cults, and twice combined represents the sun star without the outer octagon (reference The Christian Oriental Carpet), thus the minor form. This design is ascribed to the Armenian Greek cross when shown as a Gochak cross.

Black for young women
Chyrpy –

Anglicized spelling is cherpi or chirpi, a Téké woman's cloak, usually with two sleeves sewn back and worn like a cape over their head. Color coded to rank the 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. Many colors are used in Türkmen cloths and clothing, each warding off an evil spirit as well as the stripes in men's clothes which were often striped with a purifying effect when the sins flow off along the stripes. Two colored braided wool straps, black and white symbolizing life and death, were talismanic and often used in the tent. One of the primary colors used to ward off evil is blue which is considered to belong to the devil so it works when he comes by if he sees blue he'll think evil is already there and he will move on.

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).

Çüwal –

Refers to the size of a single large envelope or pouch type tent bag usually 4 – 6 ft.in width. Literally, a sack, and more specifically in Türkmen a sack to store flour. Anglicized spelling is chuval or chuwal.

Dara turkmen for comb

Dari –

Persian language spoken in Afghanistan.

Dozar –

Referring to the size of 2 zars or about 6 feet so any 4 x 6 rug.

Dromedary –

Single hump camel used for transport and for their soft fleece under their belly, arms and underneath the outer layer of coarser curly (crimpier) wool and is often used in weaving for Türkmen textiles, where the men shear the wool.

Dumba –

Central Asian fat tail sheep.

Düÿe dyzlyk –

Camel knee decoration: düÿe = camel, dyz = knee and lyk = a thing for. Used on lead camel in ceremonial wedding caravan to protect the bride's (gilin's) camel and the bride and therefore apotropaic powers are ascribed to it.

Düÿe khallyk –

Camel collar used in wedding caravan lead camel they are U-shaped and come in two sizes. Talismanic ornaments tied to their fringe are related to protecting the new bride. See Khallyk.

Dyrnak gö:l –

Main gö:l of the Yomut tribe. Represented by a hooked horizontally flattened diamond lozenge 
on the outside and various elements found in its center.

Elem –

Arabic word widely used in Türkic and Persian languages meaning sorrow. Widely and incorrectly (my opinion) used in the carpet literature to denote the name of the lower (less often the upper) apron or skirt on Türkmen rugs especially in cüwals, engsis and main rugs. See ae:lem. 

Ensi –

Engsi - a dozar or door sized rug often quartered with aprons thought to be the primary enclosure to the öÿ. Called katchli or hatchli which is Armenian for cross; this quartered compartmented cross refers to the 4 cult principle and the three vertical partitioned sections refer to the 3 shamanistic life levels of the upper world universe (the upper or cosmic level), the Middle Kingdom (earth and man), and the lower level.

Ersari –

Phonetic mistransliteration of the Türkmen tribal name. See Ar Sare. 

Eyerlyk –

in Türkmen eyer means saddle and lyk means something for, so something for the saddle i.e., saddle blanket or cover for the horse, also for the camel but not the saddle itself.

Gabsa gö:l –

often referred to as Kepse gol.

Gapylyk –

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

Geçi –

turkmen for goat

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 fertility cult symbol (birth symbol) that 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 in the spell. 

Goklan –

corruption of the Türkmen word Gö:kleng, in the 18th century they were displaced and then coexisted with the Yomut Türkmen (one of the 5 major historical Central Asian Türkmen tribes) and they were specifically located adjacent to the Yomut Türkmen in north west Persian Turkestan by the Gorgan river in the second half of the 19th century and were known for their sericulture and sheep herding. The Gö:kleng of Iran have six branches. They live in central and eastern Turkman Sahra. 

Gö:l –

Means lake when referring to rugs only in the Türkmen dialect; when not referring to rugs the word lake is spelled kö:l; this denotates their special water cult, which is connected to the 
earth (toprak) cult and their life and death continuum philosophy associated with their rugs, see guş gö:l.

Goÿun –

sheep in Türkmen.

Gul –

Persian word for lake and pronounced gull as in seagull. Also Turkish for flower.

Gül –

In Dari and Tajik language the pronunciation sounds like gool, this word in Persian is gol; also the Persian word gul is pronounced in Türkmen as gül ( flower ) and cannot be changed to gö:l (lake) nor can it be replaced by the non rug term in Türkmen for lake which is kö:l. 

Gurbaga Gö:l –

Predominate minor or secondary gül used in Téké rugs, Gurbaga is the Türkmen totem word for frog. It is a basic Greek cruciform in appearance with cross star cross overlay. 

Guş –

Türkmen word for the totem bird, often mistranslitterated as gushly.

Gushly Gul –

Refers by name to the main gö:l of the Ar Sary Türkmen tribe, but it means literally flowery flower, a misnomer for the Ar Sary main rug Gö:l. Better used in Téké main rugs as the name of the traditional heraldic emblem or identifying motif for the Téké Türkmen. The actual term should be guş gö:l or bird lake ornament, guş being bird and gö:l being lake. These are the bird totem and the water cult totem. In the double entendré of Türkmen symbology, the bird, signifying protection for each Turkmen tribe venerates pagan pantheism and the water cult symbol simultaneously synthesize into one. The erroneously used gushli or gushly means flowery which is incorrect to Türkmen since a gushly gul would mean flowery flower and is redundant.

Güza –

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

Gyak –

Turkic for striped barber pole.

Gyz –

Teke dialect modern term for both bride and girl.

Halyça –

Teke dialect modern language spelling for rug also khali
Türkmen spelling for rug, usually spelled hali in current carpet literature. Also ha:lyk

Ha:lyk –

Correct Türkmen spelling of hali or haly.

Hatchli, Katchli –

Referring to a design of a Türkmen rug, Katchli is the Armenian word for cross or cruciform, especially the Christian cross of victory; also symbolizing the important principle of the hidden Christian element in the four –way cross divided central pattern representing a cosmological system. There is little proof as to the use of these rugs to decorate a tent's entrance before the middle of the 19th century. There is remarkable similarity between a Hitachi's niche at the top of its cross and the dome or niche of a Chinese inscribed Nestorian Middle Kingdom tablet (H.M.Raphaelian) and the Middle Kingdom ascription to the Hatchli.

Jedigen –

Refers to a cluster of 7 influential stars revolving counter clockwise around the pole star (North star) and each star is connected with a day of the week. They are said to "gather strength from the pole star and send it back to earth" and it can benefit the vegetable and animal kingdoms...."each of them (the stars) being presented with the image of an angel (Türkmen saints) with a human face." These 7 stars also refer to the seven layers that divide the sky and the earth and that the decoration of the dome must have at least seven to:rbas (Reference Prof. Sayfa, Science Academy).

Karakul wool

– Persian sheep wool introduced into Afghanistan by the 12 Türkmen tribes that migrated south from Merv after the Russian take over.

Kapunuk –

Russian mistransliteration of gapylyk, also see khallyk. The larger version of a U-shaped wedding ceremonial camel knotted to:rba sized textile with arms and with fringe on the lower inside perimeter and arms bottom ends. Wedding pieces were always taken from the camel and placed in the tent where they were named for their use like gapylyk in the tent but Kejebe on the camel. Both sizes were used as tent trappings for the Türkmen öÿ entrance and the dome. There is some suggestion that they also were used to surround the hearth. If that is so then that would be a sacred home hearth for the veneration of sacred fire. This place in the tent would be called Alaushih (sacred fire) in Turkmen.

Kejebe –

Old Türkmen word for young bride or girl, (gelingyz), also refers to the bridal litter or palanquin (tent) on top of the wedding caravan bridal camel. The Kejebe design of wedding trappings literally mimics the architectural style of the litter and is apotropaic in function and when repeated it multiplies its power as in a repeating of the spell.

Kepse gol –

See gabsa gol.

Khali –

Refers to the Main rug of the Türkmen tribes.

Khallyk –

Smaller version of the U-shaped gapylyk used as decorative trapping for the Türkmen wedding caravan for a wedding camel's neck; anglicized spelling is Khalyk. Some consider this the surrounding a hearth rug. Others refer to the shape receptive female position.

Khiva –

First Central Asian city to fall to the Russian Army in 1873.

Khorjun –

Türkmen form of the Persian khourji:n, double pouched saddle bag of various sizes used for storage, cartage and transport purposes on their horses, donkeys and camels by nomads.

Lanolin –

Naturally occurring wool fat or oil that must be present in wool follicles to create sheen which processed correctly will remain in the wool hair follicle giving it 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, remains in wool for centuries.

Main rugs –

Each Türkmen tribe weaves a large rug (khali) in their own technique with their own traditional emblems unique to that tribe. These rugs are main family meeting rugs with formal occasion required for their use, i.e. weddings, receptions, etc. They reflect the status of the owner who could afford them and were generally large square rugs. Most main rugs were woven for use but in the case of the Ar Sary they wove them for Bukharan market demand.

Ort –

Turkmen for cover.

Öÿ –

Türkmen word for the tent home, usually erroneously referred to as a yurt (Russian word for tent), yurt also refers to the Türkmen's geographical territory. A tent is a sort of metaphysical device operating as an anthropomorphic life sphere performing and combining all aspects of their historical and material culture condensed into the Türkmen system of beliefs with every known spiritual shamanistic, talismanic and totemic need being met through this world to the next. The tent home is an extension of their central nervous system, almost an axiological exosystem.

Patina –

See abrash. Visual effect created by underlying color in the knot tips refracted and magnified by the cleared portion of the hair acting as a convex glass lens. 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. Also: şımıldıq (Tatar).

Salyr –

Refers to the Salyr Türkmen, one of the five historical major Türkmen tribes of Central Asian Western Turkestan. The prevailing view is that ancestors of the Salyr came from the region of Samarkand in Central Asia in the late 13th century. By the 16th century they were considered the largest of the Türkmen tribes. Often spelled Salor. The main rug gö:l is a turreted shield ornament. Generally considered the oldest of the Central Asian Altai origin Türkmen tribes and it is thought that all Türkmen tribes descend from them. They dominated central Asian Türkmenia in the 16th and 17th centuries as the Stone Salyrs. They now exist in many countries including China, Turkmenistan, Persia, Afghanistan, Kazakstan and Uzbekistan and Syria and the Northern Caucasus. They were displaced and fragmented when the Teke pushed them from the Merv Oasis in the 1850's. Others remained and were absorbed by the Teke, others by the Yomut. The sudden emergence of heavy depressed warps in Merv Teke weaving indicated the Persian influence they had absorbed which produced the heavy depressed asymetrical knotting in their rugs as opposed to the previous flat warps of a purer Akhal Teke weave, uninfluenced by Persian cross-pollinating. When the Teke moved into the Merv area they absorbed the heavy depressed warps into their own weaving whereas before they had horizontal warps, and single weft based knotting, the purer form of Türkmen weaving but not the purest which was single wefted asymetrical knots, left or right, with horizontal warps. 

Saryk Türkmen –

One of the historical 5 major Türkmen tribes located near the Pende oasis in south eastern Turkestan, the root of which is sary and yk is the affix. Definition for Saryk is the totem word sheep in Old Türkic (sheep were sacred to them) and in the Koran it is defined as a male thief while Sarik is the spelling of female thief. In Tatar sarik means sheep. Major gö:l called the Mary gö:l (Mary is original name for Merv) and also the shield gö:l. 

Shemle –

Shawl motif showing interwoven links of lattice work.

Teke –

One of the three largest but the dominate Türkmen tribe of the 19th century in central Asian Turkmenia. They were horse dealers and cattlemen, sheep herders and fierce mounted cavalry when the price was right. They were also whispered to be brigands, slave traders and thieves of wives. They twice defeated the Russian Army. They migrated southeast away from the Balkan pressure in the late 18th and in the early 19th century they displaced the Imreli at the Akhal oasis and the Saryk at Sarakh. Then were forced eastward by Russian pressure into the Merv Oasis area where they took Merv in 1857-1859. They displaced the Salyr and Saryk tribes and forced the unassimilated rest eastward to the Pendeh and Tedjen oases. The Russian conquest (several earlier expeditions failed during the 1700's and 1800's and had they succeeded these 19th century rugs would not have been made) started from a base on the southeast coast of the Caspian Sea and proceeded eastward to Akhal. The Teke lost the Akhal Oasis fort at Goek-Tepe after they were slaughtered by the Russian Army at the Battle of Goek-Tepe in 1881. In 1884 the Russians peacefully occupied the Merv Oasis and by 1885 saw the completion of the Trans-Caspian Railroad through Akhal and into Merv and with this the isolation of the area and the pure unadulterated Türkmen weaving abruptly ended forever. 
Teke is the Türkmen word for male goat or ram and is spelled geçi therefore they are the Goatman Türkmen. This is a specific totem name i.e., a primary ethnonym which are names taken from things they highly revere or venerated such as animals, plants or natural phenomena and they would adopt these names as their own (including vanquished groups' spirit). Often misspelled as Tekke, Takka, Tekky, etc.. The Téké Türkmen (Goatman Türkmen) were a historical Central Asian Türkmen tribe of the 19th cent., located in Western Turkestan. The Téké Türkmen dialect (same as Yomut dialect, both spoken in Ashgabat in 1920"s) is the literary language of modern Turkmenistan.

Teke Guş Gö:l –

The historical bird lake ornament is an octagon, a large eight-sided circular quadranted roundel being the main rug emblem identifying the traditional Teke Türkmen tribe. The guş gö:l (or bird lake) ornament is a loan symbol of a Chinese roundel symbolising many things including status, all making up the Great Chinese Circle of Life (ultimately, a yin-yang symbol) where each of it's eight facets represents one of the eight tri-grams in the Chinese I Teh Ching Book of Changes. Teke go:ls are linked horizontally and vertically with compartmented blue (devil's color) lines. The minor go:ls are linked only vertically.
The four cardinal facets of this octagonal circle are represented in the I Teh Ching as moving combined with broken lines (trigrams) and are the four elemental forces of nature being earth, air, fire and water. The lines represent a mean average (essentially a mathematical model of the world) of all the possible combinations of the elemental forces in nature that affect the destiny of nomadic beings. Lake would reflect a water cult and the other variants of the cult symbology include earth, air and fire. Thus the cultist symbology marries with the Chinese symbology. The remaining four superaltern facets of this octagon are four trigrams representing 4 lesser elements in nature, those being heaven, mountain, thunder and clouds. The four cardinal quadrants of the octagon also represent the important 4-principles theory which include the cardinal directions 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 partitioned roundel are the two most powerful forces in nature being light (the positive yang male principle, i.e., the sun or giver of life, daylight) and dark (the negative, yin feminine principle i.e., the reflective nature of the moon, darkness or the absence of light) and thus the Chinese yin-yang symbol is surrounded by all the combinations of the elemental forces that make up the Great Chinese Circle of Life. The three birds in each quadrant represent the three original Türkmen tribes and their nomadic animal totemic bird cult where birds represent heaven and birds of prey express freedom. Thus the pagan animal cults marry with the Chinese cults and the water and earth (dirt in Türkmen: toprak) cults where according to legend life begins in and dies (death in Turkmen is ae:lem or transliterated as elem) in and returns to dirt and then is reborn in a cyclical continuum (reincarnation?) all represented by testimonials of their rug's symbology.
Finally, the Christian cult plays an important part in 19th century Türkmen gö:ls and through the use of hidden Christian symbols representing elements of the Armenian (the first Christian kings in the middle east) influence through the plagiarism of Armenian letters, numbers, cruciforms and color symbology in their designs. These Christian symbols are really old, some readapted from religions existing thousands years before Mohammed and Jesus. The four-partitioned cross is the most important. Others like the diamond-cross medallions belong to their traditional design pool which began with Christianity. The star cross medallions incorporate the pre-Christian worship of the sun and stars into other ornaments added to the cross.
These, for obvious reasons, were disguised by Türkmen weavers in their gö:ls, güls, fields and borders. It is a fact that one clearly finds Armenian symbols in the weaving of every Türkmen group, especially in the earlier central Asian Turkmenian area. It is intriguing that Türkmen names for these ornaments are always descriptive in nature but give no information whatsoever as to their content and were trying to hide them or mislead anyone as to their meaning. These distortions became even more obscure in the late 19th and early 20th century. There is some question as to whether the 19th cent. Salyrs from the Caucacus region were in fact at least part Armenian. It is known, however, that Armenian artisans and weavers stayed in the Merv and Pende area in the 19th century rather than migrate to the Serakic region. Some Armenian symbols Türkmen weavers co-opted include birds (Phoenixes portray life over death as in resurrection) and dragons (the dragon of death is symbolized by the horizontal Armenian letter S, which is also the first letter of the Armenian word for God), lily flower crosses (repeating border plant symbols representing the virgin Mary), Western Greek Orthodox crosses, Coptic crosses, tree of Jesse (tree of life), red as the color of Christ, the use of the double dd which is the sacred Armenian number 4, d being the 4th letter in the Armenian alphabet and refers to the relationship of the divine with the world and with the important principle of the 4-way divided central pattern (the four gospels in the old Testament) shown always by a cross.
Also, the Gochanak cross, cross-stars and light-symbol crosses. The incorporation of each of these ideological system's symbols, from all major forces of influence encountered in their world create a unique and single system that tells their history. They faithfully copied these over time into the codexes within codexes creating their language of non verbal representations of their experience based on chosen parts of all these systems they encountered throughout their history. Similar to the Sufi vision of the Universe, which incorporates the various parts of all religions and pagan principles into their own paradigm, represented through their symbolic devices.

Tengri –


Tenri –

Other worldly correspondent called Tenri Tenri and called to during incantations to remove illness, the Kazakhs shamans called this deity the blue wolf or Jenni Jenni (possibly the same).

To:rba –

Smaller wide rectangular single tent bag used for storage, cartage and transport by Türkmen nomads, e.g., dü:l to:rba (bag hung at the back of the te facing the front entrance), guş to:rba (bird torba or bird hunter's bag), çemçe to:rba (spoon bag) and igsalyk to:rba (spindle bag) are some of them.

Towuk Nusga –
Refers to the hen pattern (towuk is hen and nusga is pattern) in Türkmen gö:ls, the usual eight hens (sometimes called dogs or other animals) could be the Armenian dd letter symbol from the Armenian alphabet representing the sacred number 4 (d is the 4th letter) and thus the four-partition principle of the Christian cross but are denigrated and made to look like eight hens or other zoomorphic animals designs. According to Gantzhorn they are actually deceptions made to look like animals to obscure their real meaning. 

Totem name –

Türkmen totems are eponyms of their tribes and come from animals, plants and natural phenomenon which are the objects of their veneration. 

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 to the Çowdur (Chodor) Türkmen.

Transoxiana –

Area between Syr Darya River and Amu Darya River in Central Asian Turkmenia.

Tujnuk –

Türkmen for the flute 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 opening which connects them to the outer universe. 

Tüynük ÿüp –

Flute rope or (Dr. Andrews) wind rope or tujnuk rope hanging from the roof wheel inside a tent dome. This is a small version of a tent band strip usually only 4-5 inches in height and 15-20 feet in length and is hung from the cross shaped roof wheel spokes in the tent dome as a spiraling cyclical staircase to the heavens.

Türkmen –

Pronounced Turkman in Türkmen; Türk,men, where men = I and Türk = Türkic, therefore I, Turk or I am Turkic. The modern Türkmen literary language is Téké Türkmen dialect which is also the Yomut dialect. The anglicized spelling is Turkoman or Turcoman. These are the Türkic speaking nomadic and semi-nomadic cattle-men and semi-agrarian tribes with their 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 clans living along the Amu Darya River and mostly subject to the Khan of Khiva. The five historical tribes are the Teke , Salyr, Saryk, Yomut and Ar Sary. Other tribes are Gö:kleng, Çowdur, Arabatchi. 

Turkoman –

A major tribal confederation of 23 Turkic tribes making up the Oghuz Confederation. Later it split up and those who lived in Turkey and Azerbaijan are called Turkoman and those who stayed in Central Asia are the Türkmen. The Turkoman is an ethnic minority who speak the Turkish language with the eastern Oghuz accent and they live in the Turkoman Sahra and in the Gorgan plain. There are 9 Turkoman tribes. 

Turug –

Old Türkic for arrow, or tribal unit i.e., Ten Arrows Türkmen tribe (ten sub tribes) eventually migrated to China.

Yölam -

Türkmen word for their tent band. Central Asian origin. Often referred to as yup or ak yup, baskur, bou, yolami, iolam and 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 nomad 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 using hand drop spindled or spun natural color goat's wool yarns woven on a standard long Türkmen ground loom and are plain finished on both sides with reverse patterning. They are extremely strong and durable and usually around 46 to 48 feet in length and a foot or so in height. Ceremonial tent bands are more embellished as they are used for special occasions and often made with more precious materials (silk, linen) and show wedding animals etc., over woven on a flat usually white or light ground (äk ÿüp) in a cut and voided technique. Although both types of bands are decorative in function and style the ceremonial ones are finer and are used only for special occasions. I suspect their totemic function is to protectively enclose the öÿ and it's family, newly weds or visitors and the their spirit located within it, to protect and strengthen them and thus secure them from evil as a sort of protective spiritual belt. Smaller belts called wind ropes secure a talismanic position hanging from the roof wheel inside the tent dome. This is known as heaven's gate and is in the öÿ center roof hole sometimes referred to as the wheel of fortune.

Yomut Turkmen –

One of the 5 major historical Türkmen tribes and one of the three largest tribes of the 19th century. Yomut is Old Türkic for family or tribe. Unlike other Türkmen they remained in the same geographical area and continued their nomadic lifestyle until 1900; with the exception of some smaller groups living on the east coast of the Caspian Sea who became sedentary and agrarian. The Yomuts of Iran have two groups, the Atabay and the Jafarbay and live in the oasis of Khwarezm which occupies the Amu Darya salt delta close to the Aral Sea. This region of Khwarezm became part of the Chaghatay Khanate (Trans-Oxanian Central Asia) before it gained autonomy as the Khanate of Khiva under the Mongols. They incorporated many small groups under their protection including the Igdyr, Abdal, Ata, Arabachis and Gö:kleng. In the 18th cent. they were the dominate Türkmen tribe. Usually spelled in Arabic or Persian as Yomoud, Yomout or Yomud; however, in Türkmen there is no d at the end of any word but rather a t. The Russian Army, at the end of the 19th century, made reprisal 
a point in going after and decimating the Yomut. After the Tekes dispersed the Salyr from Merv they (Salyr) were also taken in by the Yomut. The Yomut made the most variety of woven objects including bread, spindle and tent pole bags. Their main rug gö:l includes dyrnak and gaba gö:l without minor güls and Towuk Nusga gö:l.


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