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2015/26/69 Storage bag (kap), symmetrically knotted pile, wool, made by Yomut Turkmen women, Turkmenistan or eastern Iran, mid 1800s. Click to enlarge.

Storage bag (kap), Yomut Turkmen

  • c 1850
This fine small storage bag or kap was woven by a woman of the Yomut Turkmen tribe in Turkmenistan or eastern Iran in the mid 1800s. The Turkmen used handwoven bags of varying sizes to store and transport their possessions when they moved from place to place with their flocks. The kap was used for storing personal possessions; interestingly, the designs used in kaps mostly differ from those in larger storage bags. Notable features of this example are its tauk noska main pattern in octagons, …


Object No.


Object Statement

Storage bag (kap), symmetrically knotted pile, wool, made by Yomut Turkmen women, Turkmenistan or eastern Iran, mid 1800s

Physical Description

A small storage bag or kap in symmetrically knotted wool pile; the back is present but no longer stitched into place down the sides of the bag and remnants of the original fringe are present along the lower edge. The design has four closely set octagonal forms with a wide border of connected stepped diamonds.

Donor's notes: 'Symmetrical knots; derivative tauk noska main pattern in octagons. Six colours: red, red brown, aubergine, light red, brown and ivory. Back intact; some damage at top. See this piece in IV Elmby at plate 33.

This storage bag or kap is Number 93 in the Upfold collection list; as such it represents the 93rd Turkmen piece acquired by the donor.


The donor's tag that was pinned tothe storage bag, removed.



230 mm


390 mm



The design of this small, symmetrically knotted storage bag or kap features a derivative tauk noska main pattern in four closely set octagons. There are six colours: red, red brown, aubergine, light red, brown and ivory.

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 kap 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 kap was purchased by the donor from Michael Phillips, USA in May 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 kap would have been used to store and transport smaller personal and household items.

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


Storage bag (kap), Yomut Turkmen 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 October 2021, <>


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