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2015/26/50 Storage bag (torba) face, Chodor design, symmetrically knotted wool pile, probably made by Yomut Turkmen women, Turkmenistan, late 1800s. Click to enlarge.

Face of storage bag (torba), Yomut Turkmen

This fine torba or shallow storage bag face was probably woven by a woman of the Yomut Turkmen tribe in Turkmenistan or eastern Iran in the late 1800s. The Turkmen used storage bags of various sizes to transport their possessions when they moved with their flocks and, when the tents were erected again, to store their belongings. Torbas are generally smaller than juvals and wider and deeper than the mafrash. Notable features of this example are its strongly Chodor influenced design combined …


Object No.


Object Statement

Storage bag (torba) face, Chodor design, symmetrically knotted wool pile, probably made by Yomut Turkmen women, Turkmenistan, late 1800s

Physical Description

The face of a shallow rectangular storage bag or torba worked in symmetrically knotted wool pile. The field design displays strong Chodor Turkmen influence, featuring two large diamond-shaped blue-ground motifs with zigzag edges in the centre, with similar alternating red and white-ground motifs halved or quartered by the borders. The main border contains star motifs in boxes. The red colours are typically Yomut and included in the palette is a yellow/olive green which is unusual for such pieces. The back is missing.

Donor's notes:' Another example of Chodor influence in design but Yomut colourings'.

This shallow storage bag or torba is Number 80 in the Upfold collection list, representing the 80th Turkmen piece acquired by the donor.


The donor's tag number that was pinned to the rug with safety pin, removed. There ios no back. There are some damages on the right bottom and top corners. There are signs of moth-eaten in some parts.



380 mm


1050 mm



The design of this symmetrically knotted shallow storage bag or torba face features a strongly Chodor influenced design with Yomut colours. The red ground field features large diamond-shaped guls or motifs. The colours of brown, red, green, cream, light blue, salmon, dark red and light red are typically Yomut, and also included in the palette is a yellow/olive green which is unusual for such pieces. The dyes used are both natural and synthetic.

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 torba 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 torba is thought to have been purchased by the donor in 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. This torba would have been used as a storage bag.

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


Face of storage bag (torba), Yomut Turkmen 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 October 2021, <>


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