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2015/26/12 Tent door cover (engsi), symmetrically knotted, wool, made by Yomut Turkmen women, Turkmenistan, mid 1800s. Click to enlarge.

Tent door cover (engsi), Yomut Turkmen

  • c 1850
This fine tent door covering or engsi was woven by a woman of the Yomut Turkmen tribe in Turkmenistan or eastern Iran in the mid 19th century. Notable features of this example are the unusual motifs in the field which, as is characteristic of engsis, is divided into four quadrants. The unusual motifs are composed of four small touching diamonds, with a hook device in each and outlined in a contrasting colour red with light or dark blue. These motifs are somewhat similar in form to the centre …

Summary

Object No.

2015/26/12

Object Statement

Tent door cover (engsi), symmetrically knotted, wool, made by Yomut Turkmen women, Turkmenistan, mid 1800s

Physical Description

The design of the symmetrically-knotted pile weave rug is classical engsi form, ie the main field is divided into four quadrants by vertical and horizontal bars. The motifs in the four quadrants of the unusual field are similar to the centres of kepse guls. There are four rhomboids in the lower and seven in upper field. The main border motifs are of opposing triangles, each in a box separated by giyak (barbers pole) stripes. The inner and outer borders are ashiks. In the deep lower border or elem are two panels of gapirga on giyak columns, separated by giyak stripes, eight in the top panel and thirteen in the lower panel. Between the well spaced gapirga in the upper row are comb motifs or talismans.

The engsi is Number 99 in the Upfold collection list, representing the 99th Turkmen piece acquired by the donor.

Dimensions

Height

1980 mm

Width

1660 mm

Production

Notes

The design of this symmetrically knotted tent door cover or engsi features an unusual main field with diagonally set motifs reminiscent of the centres of kepse guls. There are four rhomboids in the lower and seven in upper field. The main borders and vertical and horizontal bars consist of opposing triangles in varying reds and blues with three ivory crosses on the long sides of the triangles, and each in a box separated by giyak stripes. The inner and outer borders feature ashiks and have giyak guard stripes. In the deep lower border or elem are two panels of gapirga on giyak columns, separated by giyak stripes, eight in the top panel on an aubergine ground and thirteen in the lower panel on a blue ground. Between the well spaced gapirga in the upper row are comb motifs and talismans.

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.

History

Notes

This tent door cover or engsi 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 engsi was purchased by the donor from Nomadic Rug Traders in Sydney in July 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. The engsi, with its one-way design, is thought to have been used as a tent door covering.

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.

Source

Credit Line

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

Acquisition Date

22 April 2015

Cite this Object

Harvard

Tent door cover (engsi), Yomut Turkmen 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 October 2021, <https://ma.as/467325>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/467325 |title=Tent door cover (engsi), Yomut Turkmen |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=27 October 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}