An Introduction to the
by Jim Adelson & Yon Bard
Perhaps no group of weavings has been more thoroughly
classified—by shape and usage, by structure, and by
tribal origin—than the pile weavings of the Turkmen.
It is no surprise, then, that collectors are often
attracted to the rare pieces that have few known
comparables or that altogether defy classification,
and to the unusual pieces that differ from the norm
for their class. The present exhibition seeks to
showcase such pieces.
In the first category—pieces that belong to classes of
which few other examples are known—we can count the
Saryk tentband (5) and the Eagle-Group trapping
(20). Exhibits that appear to belong to no known
class include a lozenge-shaped object (3) and a
narrow torba-like trapping (21).
Pieces may be unusual for a variety of reasons: their
structure (2), their palette (15,
16), or their
design, either in overall appearance or in specific
elements (most of our exhibits). They may be totally
quirky in their design (8, 9), or they may possess
an unusual grandeur (4). They may combine aspects
associated with different tribes in a single piece,
thereby complicating attribution (11,12). Finally, and
perhaps most importantly, they may be (or were, before
they became worn or fragmented) unusually beautiful
(1, 10, 14, 19). Of course, several of our
exhibits belong in more than one of these categories.
On the labels accompanying the exhibits, you will see
thoughts on what is rare and unusual about the pieces.
We titled the pieces according to the owners’ choices.
In particular, we took no position on whether
“Ersaris” should be labeled as such, or as Beshir,
Middle Amu Darya Valley, Left Bank, or Right Bank.
We would very much like to hear viewers’ opinions on
these pieces; most of all, we’d love to know if anyone
can shed some light on the more obscure entries.
Please send email if you have comments.
Enjoy the show!