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2015/26/4 Main carpet (khali), symmetrically knotted wool pile, made by Yomut Turkmen woman, Turkmenistan or eastern Iran, 1800-1810. Click to enlarge.

Main carpet (khali), Yomut Turkmen

  • 1800-1810
This fine main carpet or khali was woven by a woman of the Yomut Turkmen tribe in Turkmenistan or eastern Iran in the early years of the 19th century. Notable features of this example are the strong impact of the dyrnak guls (main motifs) in the main field, due to the strategic use of white on opposite sides of the gul in alternate rows. Large boat-shaped motifs are set along a narrow geometrical meandering vine in the main borders on the long sides of the carpet. As usual with Yomut carpets, …


Object No.


Object Statement

Main carpet (khali), symmetrically knotted wool pile, made by Yomut Turkmen woman, Turkmenistan or eastern Iran, 1800-1810

Physical Description

This Yomut main carpet or khali is ornamented with large well-spaced diagonally-arranged dyrnak guls in the field. The white ground main long borders feature large boat-shaped motifs in a narrow meandering vine and an old elongated diamond in the shorter borders.

Upfold notes that this is thought to be Eagle Group 2, see plate in Reuben catalogue. The carpet is Number 100 in the Upfold collection list; as such it represents the 100th Turkmen piece acquired by the donor.



2800 mm


1705 mm



The design of this symmetrically knotted main carpet or khali features beautifully positioned dyrnak guls whose strong impact is due to the strategic use of white on opposite sides of the gul in alternate rows. In the main borders on the long sides of the carpet, curious boat-shaped motifs sail among a narrow geometrical meandering vine.

Fine wool from their flocks was always available to the Turkmen women for weaving their extensive repertoire of domestic and personal items. These included carpets, bands and bags to comfortably furnish the nomadic tent or oy and a collection of colourful trappings for their prized horses and camels.

Most Yomut Turkmen weavings are of cut pile construction, with a foundation of undyed goat hair or wool warps and two shots of coloured wool wefts (usually grey, brown or pink) or light brown camel hair between each row of knots. While symmetrical knots are more commonly found in Yomut weavings, asymmetrical knots are also sometimes used. To these structural characteristics, which help to distinguish Yomut weaving from other Turkmen weavings, may be added colour and design. The rich and varied reds that characterise Turkmen rugs and trappings generally were easily obtainable from local madder plants.



This main carpet or khali is one of a large collection of 127 mainly Yomut Turkmen rugs and trappings assembled with a discerning eye over a 30 year period by the Sydney collector and donor Robert Upfold. The khali was purchased by the donor from Reuben in the United Kingdom in August 2005. Upfold's stated and generous intention was always to donate this collection eventually to the Powerhouse Museum.

Highly skilled in their execution, these rugs and trappings span the traditional range of production of the Yomut Turkmen women weavers and capture the essence of an independent people and their virtually extinguished nomadic way of life. Main carpets like this one may have been used on the floor of the Yomut tent on special occasions or hung on the wall of a more established residence.

The Yomut are the second largest Turkmen group after the Ersari and were divided into two main subgroups, one of which inhabited the area around the Balkan Mountains to the south-east of the Caspian Sea and northern Iran. The other group lived further to the north, east of the Aral Sea near the khanate of Khiva. Little is known of Yomut history, largely due to their warlike character and nomadic lifestyle, which ensured that they carried only essentials with them. While focusing almost exclusively on Yomut Turkmen weaving from the late 18th to early 20th centuries, the collection also includes six pieces from Igdyr, Saryk, Tekke and Chodor Turkmen groups.


Credit Line

Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Robert Upfold, 2013

Acquisition Date

22 April 2015

Cite this Object


Main carpet (khali), Yomut Turkmen 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 October 2021, <>


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