Afghan and Turkoman Rugs

(Posted on 15/07/14)

Afghan and Turkoman Rugs
Weaving region: Afghanistan, and north-east Iran

Categories produced: workshop, village and nomadic

Central Asia is acknowledged by most authorities as the most likely birthplace of the oriental rug, and the Turkoman nomads, who have inhabited the region for millennia, are generally accepted as having inherited the oldest pile-weaving tradition still in existence.  Marco Polo’s glowing report of the beautiful, densely knotted rugs he witnessed during his visit to Turkestan in 1280, could equally be applied to some of the finer items made there today.  Certainly, the essential characteristics and overall appearance of Turkoman rugs have hardly changed for centuries.  They are almost always red (although a myriad of different shades, from rose to magenta, give them a subtly varied decorative appeal) and their designs are usually based on either repeating gul and vegetal motifs, or, more occasionally, hatchli schemes.

The Turkomans, who were primarily nomadic and semi-nomadic herdsmen, occupied a vast territory stretching from the Caspian Sea in the west to Tibet in the east, and bounded north and south by the borderlands of Russia and Persia.  Today, these ancient tribal lands have been absorbed into the surrounding countries.  Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are now in east Turkestan is now part of China, and Baluchistan has been split between Iran and Afghanistan.  Despite this, Turkoman rugs have retained much of their original character.  However, the weaving of Turkoman rugs has taken a different direction in each country, and there are now certain variations in the overall quality and characteristics of the rugs, as well as in the manner in which they are made.

Price and resale value: Afghan and Turkoman rugs, whether of nomadic, village or workshop origin, are with few exceptions excellent value for money, and in terms of sheer quality constitute some of the very best rugs in their price range on the market today.  Although it is dangerous to generalize on resale value of such a diverse range of items, it is probable that village and nomadic rugs, in particular, will hold their value extremely well.

                                                                                       Afghan Hatchli rug