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2015/26/5 Main carpet (khali), C gul design, symmetrically knotted wool pile, made by Yomut Turkmen woman, Turkmenistan, early 1800s. Click to enlarge.

Main C-gul carpet (khali), Yomut Turkmen

  • 1800-1825
This fine main carpet or khali was woven by a woman of the Yomut Turkmen tribe in Turkmenistan or eastern Iran in the early 1800s. Notable features of this example are its beautiful colours, which show a lovely balance between reds and blues, and the incorporation of several typcial Yomut design features: large C-guls in the main field, the erre guls in the elems or end panels, and the geometric syrga border pattern.

The Turkmen were mostly tent-dwelling pastoral nomads, whose ancestors are …


Object No.


Object Statement

Main carpet (khali), C gul design, symmetrically knotted wool pile, made by Yomut Turkmen woman, Turkmenistan, early 1800s

Physical Description

This main carpet or khali features rows of large offset C-gul motifs mainly in light red, light and dark blues and white on a red ground. The main border is formed from a repeating geometric motif called syrga, while the elems feature the characteristic Yomut erre gul. The colours are close tones of reds and a range of indigo blues.

The carpet is Number 120 in the Upfold collection list; as such it represents the 120th Turkmen piece acquired by the donor.



2840 mm


1720 mm



The design of this symmetrically knotted main carpet or khali features characteristic Yomut patterns and motifs, including the beautiful large diamond-shaped C-gul, so named for the small C-shaped devices that decorate the guls internally. The main border, a form of the syrga border pattern, and the erre guls in the elem are also characteristic of Yomut rugs.

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 Nomadic Rug Traders in Sydney in 2007. 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. This main carpet or khali may have been used on the floor of the nomadic tent on special occasions or, as it still has hanging strips attached, to decorate the walls of the tent or 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 C-gul carpet (khali), Yomut Turkmen 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 3 December 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Main C-gul carpet (khali), Yomut Turkmen |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=3 December 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}