Turkic Ethnography Guide

Table of contents:

 

History of Central Asia. Ancient and Middle Ages Nomadic series

Oguz tribal union organization

Oguz (Oghuz or Ghuzz) Turks history and connection to Turkmens/ Turkoman

Turkmen Ethnic Groups (Tribes)

Turkoman carpets as a part of ethnography and way of life

Nomad’s Dwelling - Yurts History, Structure and Advantages

Turkic - Turkmen folklore traditions and musical instruments

Turkmen jewelry making art

Turkmen Wedding Traditions

 

 

 

 

History of Central Asia. Ancient and Middle Ages Nomadic series

 

Ancient:

 

 

Scythia                     (ancient name for nomadic people) – Eastern Iranian Scythians lived in the region of Central Eurasia, around Central Asia, parts of Eastern Europe, east of the Vistula River

Dingling / Tiele         - an ancient people lived in Siberia, around I century B.C. They have been an early Proto Turkic speaking people

Saka                           Ancient group of nomadic Iranian people, inhabited the northern and eastern Eurasian steppe and the Tarim basin 

Kangju                       Chinese name of an ancient kingdom in Central Asia, being the second power in Transoxiana after the Yuezhi. Indo- European semi-nomadic people identical to Iranian Sogdians and other Iranian groups.

Huns                          Nomadic people living in Central Asia, Caucasus, Eastern Europe between IV- VI centuries A.D

 

 

 

Middle Ages:

 

 

Hephthalites                          440 – 710 A.D Hephtalites or White Huns lived in Central Asia. Between 450-560 based in Bactria and expanded east to Tarim basin, west of Sogdia, south through Afghanistan to northern Idia

Turkic Khaganate                552-745 Gokturk Khaganate (United Celestial Turks). First Turks state used Turk name politically. Gokturks spoke old Turk but used Sogdian language for official texts and coins.

Karluks                                  665-744 Prominent nomadic Turkic tribal confederacy residing in the regions of Kara-Irtysh and Tarbadatai Mountains west of the Altay Mountains in Central Asia. Closely related to Uyghurs, also known as Geluolu. Karluk name come from Karluk group of Turkic languages, what also includes Uyghur, Uzbek, Ili Turki Languages.

Kimek Khanate                     743-1220 Kimek-Kipchak tribes confederation, a medieval Turkic nomadic state in the area between Ob and Irtysh rivers. It was as Khaganate until Mongol conquest in the XIII century

Oghuz Yabgu State             750-1055 Turkic nomadic state formed by Oghuz Turks, geographically located between Caspian and Aral seas. Oghuz tribes spoke the Oghuz group of Turkic languages. Occupied the vast territory in Kazakhstan along                                                   Irgiz, Yaik, Emba, Uil rivers, Aral Sea, Syr Darya valley, foothills of Karatau Mountains in Tien Shan, Chui river valley. Oguz association developed in IX-X centuries in the middle and lower course of Syr Darya, modern                                                       western Kazakh steppes.

Kara-Khanid Khanate         840-1212        also known as Karakhanids, Ilek Khanids, Afrasiabids was Turkic khanate in Central Asia, to the west from Aral Sea, between IX- XIII centuries. Karakhanids titles refer to Kara Kagan as most important                                                         Turkish title up to the end if the dynasty.

Qara Khitai                           1124-1218 Black Khitai (Western Liao/ remnants of Liao dynasty) was Sinicized empire in Central Asia (partly modern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan).

                           Mongol Empire                    1206-1368 Largest contiguous land empire, stretching from estern and some parts of Central Europe to the Sea of Japan, extending into parts of the Arctic, eastwar, southwest of Indian subcontinent, Mainland                                                                                                            Southeast Asia, Iranian Plateau and westward to Levant and the Carpathian Mountains

Golden Gorde                      1240-1446 Great State in Turkic, was originally a Mongol and later Turkicized khaganate established in the XII century

 

 

 

 

 

Oguz tribal union organization consisted of 24 tribes

They also formed combat order of their army.

 

 

Right wing (privileged tribes), Gray Arrows (Bozoks)

 

1st group: Gyun Han

 

Kayi (Gaya)   Meaning – Strong, Ongon – Gyrfalcon.

(Ottomans family originated from Kayi tribe, under Osman I, in north-western Anatolia, district of Bilecik Sogut

Jandarids was Anatolian Turkoman beylik in the regions of Kastamonu and Sinop of Turkey)

 

Bayat                          Meaning – Rich, Ongon - Eurasian eagle-owl.

(Qajars was Iranian royal dynasty of Bayat Turkic origin, who ruled in Iran between 1789-1925.

Dulkadirids was one of the frontier principalities established by Turkoman clans Bayat, Afshar, Begdili after decline of Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate.

Book of Dede Korkut the most famous epic stories of Oghuz Turks about their morals, values, lifestyle, pre-Islamic beliefs.

Fuzuli was Azerbaijani write and poet)

Alkaevli (Agoyli)       Meaning – White House, Ongon – Common Kestrel

Karaevli (Garaoyli)   Meaning – Black House, Ongon – Lesser Kestrel

 

 

 

2nd group: Ay Han

 

Yazir                           Meaning – Spread, Ongon - Merlin

Doeger (Doger)       Meaning –Gatherer   

(Artuqids was a Turkmen dynasty who ruled in eastern Anatolia, Northern Syria, Northern Iraq between XI- XIII centuries. Artuqid dynasty takes name from its founder Zaheer ul Daulah Artuk)

Dodurga                    Meaning – Country Gainer

Yaparli                                   Meaning – Nice Smelling

 

 

 

3rd group: Yilduz Han

 

Afshar (Owshar)      Meaning- Obedient/ Agile, Ongon –Bonelli’s Eagle.

(Afsharids was Iranian dynasty from Afshar tribe, in Iranian province of Khorosan ruling Iran in mid-eighteenth century. Founded in 1736 by military commander Nader Shakh. Who deposed last member of Safavid dynasty and proclaimed himself Shah of Iran.

Zengid was a Muslim dynasty what ruled parts of Levant and Upper Mesopotamia for Seljuk Empire. Founder Imad ad Din Zengi, Afshar Turkic tribe)

Kizik (Gyryk)             Meaning – Forbidden, Ongon – Northern Goshawk

Begdili                       Meaning – Reputable, Ongon- Great Crested Grebe.

(Khwarazmian dynasty was a Persianate Sunni Muslim society of Turkic mamluk (king) origin. They ruled in Central Asia and in Iran 1077-1231, as vassals of Seljuks and Qara Khitan, then as independent rulers until defeated by Mongols)       

Kargin (Garkyn)       Meaning – Black Leather, Northen Goshawk

 

 

 

 

Left wing, Three Arrows (Uchoks)

 

1st group: Goek (Gok) Han

 

Bayadur (Bayyndyr)                        Meaning – Wealthy Soil, Ongon – Peregrine Falcon.

(Founders of Ak Koyunlu – White Sheep Turkomans. They were Persianate Sunni Muslim tribal confederation ruling in Eastern Turkey 1378-1501, and last periods also in Armenia, Azerbaijan, most of Iran, Iraq)

Pecheneg (Bechene)                       Meaning – Who Makes, Ongon- Eurasian Magpie.

Chavuldur (Chowdur)                     Meaning –Famous.

(Tzachas- Chaka Bey – 11th century Seljuk Turkic Commander who ruled in Smyrna (Izmir), much of Aegean costlands of Asia Minor and islands lying off shore 1088-1091. Originally, in Byzantine service, he rebelled against them. Byzantines returned control of the lands in 1097)                                  

Chepni                                              Meaning- Who Attacks Enemy, Ongon- Homa Mythical Bird (Kyuresunni – Turkic Chepni ethnic subgroup settled by Ottoman Empire in Azerbaijani parts of Iran and at the border with Turkey)

 

 

 

2nd group: Tak Han

 

Salur (Salyr)                                     Meaning- Sword Swinger, Ongon- Golden Eagle.

(Salars people – Turkic ethnic minority living in China and speaking Salar language, an Oghuz language.

Kadi Burhan al-Din 1345- 1398 Oghuz vizier and atabeg to the Eretnidrulers of Anatolia. In 1381 claimed title of sultan

Salghurids of Fars, Turkic origin dynasty that ruled Fars vassals of Seljuqs and Khawaresm Shakhs

Karamanids was one of Anatolian beyliks)

 

Eymyur (Eymir, Ayrums)                Meaning-Being Good

Alayuntlu (Alayuntly)                      Meaning – With multicolored horse, Ongon- Eurasian Hobby

Yuregir (Uregir)                                Meaning- Order Finder.

(Ramadanids were an independent emirate 1352-1608 in Cilicia/ modern Turkey, Protectorate of Mamluk Sultanate until the end of XIV century)

 

 

 

3rd group: Dingiz Han

 

Igdir                                                   Meaning- Being Good, Ongon- Northern Goshawk

 

Byugdyuz (Bukder, Bugduz)         Meaning- Modest, Ongon-Saker Falcon

 

Yiva                                                   Meaning- High Ranked, Ongon- Northen Goshawk.

(Qara Qoyunlu – Black Sheep Turkoman, Muslim Monachy ruled over the territory of present day Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, northwestern Iran, northeastern Iraq 1374-1468

Oghuz Yabgu State – Turkic State founded by Oghuz Turks since 766, located between Caspian Sea and Aral Sea, until the foothills of Kopet Dag mountains in the west. Later Oghuz tribes occupied a vast territory in Kazakhstan along the Irgiz, Yaik, Emba, Uil rivers, Syr Darya valley, the foothills of the Karatau Mountains in Tien Shan, Chui River

 

Kinik                                      Meaning – Saint, Ongon- Northen Goshawk.

(Founders of the Great Seljuk Empire – Turko Persian Sunni Muslim empire originating from Kinik Oghuz Turkic tribe. Seljuk Empire stretched from western Anatolia and the Levant to the Hindu Kush in the east, from Central Asia to the Persian gulf in the south)

 

 

 

Modern Oghuz Ethnic groups:

Azerbaijani people

Qashqai people

Turkish people

Turkmen people

Salar people

 

 

 

 

Oguz (Oghuz or Ghuzz) Turks history and connection to Turkmens/ Turkoman (Turkomannus).

 

 

Scholars dispute the meaning of Oguz word. The most probable etymology at its start was ‘Union of Tribes’ what later became the collective ethnic name for certain tribal groups of Turks.

 

The Turks’ homeland was Altai Mountains, since prehistory. Accordingly, to Chinese sources, in II century B.C, one of steppe tribal confederation known as Xiongnu had been pushed out of western China, and to Central Asia. Many scholars connect Xiongnu to Turkic tribes or the Huns.

 

   The beginning of Oghuz group formation geographically refer western Zhetysu (Semirechye – Seven Rivers around Balkhash lake in modern Kazakhstan. Oghuz tribes together with Toguz Oghuz, Kimeks, Karluks Turkic tribes had the kings’ status (malik) and had been revered and respected by other Turkic tribes. As the result of different wars with each other, leadership come to Karluk tribes. Oghuz tribes moved to Karatau mountains and Issyk Kul basin, 8th century. Later, Oghuz in alliance with Karluks and Kimaks Turkic tribes destroyed Kangar Tribal Union around Syr Darya and Aral steppes and moved their capital to Yangikent (Meant - New Town, present day Kazakhstan, 45 33 N – 61 52 E) what became known as Oghuz Yabgu State. The east from Caspian Sea and up to around Aral Sea (Transoxiana), known also as Oghuz Steppe, the period of this nomadic state cover 750 - 1055 A.D.

   Leader of the Oghuz Turks ruled all tribes under title Yabgu, what was equal to Khan or Kagan. Commander of army called Subashi. Around last decade of 10th century, one of the Oghuz army commander Seljuk split off his tribe to become independent and founded new tribal union known as Seljuks. In the beginning, they have been defeated and moved to Khorasan and Kopet Dag area. Later in 1043 Seljuks defeated Oguz Shanmalik Yabgu and started to form their own empire what became Great Seljuk Empire. One part of Oghuz tribes joined Seljuks, another moved to Eastern Europe, some tribes remained and been dissolved between the Turkic tribes.

   Great Seljuk Empire stretched in central Asia, Caucasus, Persia and Asia Minor. After Seljuk Empire perished, various Turkic tribes remained on their territories founding new states or become the parts of new armies. One of them Ottoman dynasty (descendants of Oghuz Turkic tribe Kayi) gradually took control of Anatolia, proved to commander the other Oghuz Turkic States and founded new Ottoman Empire. Where the new Turkish term appeared.

 

 

  At the start, Turkic tribes had the Tengrism as the main belief. For example from the first Turk Khaganate – Gokturk Khaganate, Tengi (SKY) is the God of Turks. Later, Turkic tribes started the process of conversion from Tengrism to Islam, mainly it concerned Oghuz Turkic tribes what step by step (a tribe after tribe during long period) became Muslims and adapted Arabic script. Oghuz name appeared in the works of Arabic writers as Turkic tribes in Transoxiana. Thus, in the 10th century, in the Islamic sources appeared the term ‘Turkmen’ (Turkoman/ Turcomannus - one who resembles a Turk. Meaning at the origin that these tribes come into Islam and become Muslims and later the term applied as collective name for certain ethnic groups.

 

There have been also different Turkic tribes under Oghuz name – for example Toguz Oghuz who had been different from Oghuz in Transoxiana and later became the founders of Uyghur Khaganate.

The Oghuz listed together with Kimaks, Old Kipchaks, and the modern Kyrgyz in one particular linguistic Turkic group. Oghuz Turkic tribes served in Byzantine cavalry starting from 8th century. Islamic army 10th century, 11th-12th centuries in Eastern Europe.

  

Steppe space from Altay Mountains to Eastern Europe was for centuries like a steaming cauldron, throwing out the different great nomadic states and empires. Influenced and invaded China, Central Asia, Caucasus, Persia, Asia Minor, Easter Europe. Played important role in creating new empires together with the settled people of this part of the world.   

 

 

 

Turkmen Ethnic Groups (Tribes)

 

 

In the 15th – 16th centuries Turkmen Ethnic tribes in Central Asia began to form tribal alliances called: the Yazirs, Salors, Khizir-elis, Uchilis (three tribes Devejis, Eskis, Alilis), Esenilis, Soyunkhans, Yaka Turkmens, Teke- Yomuts and others. These gave rise to a recognizable Turkmen community, now living in Central Asia, Persia, Afghanistan, with a distinct ethnic composition. By the 16th century, all ethnic links between the Turkmens of Central Asia and the Turkman of Eastern Anatolia, western Persia and beyond had been lost.

 

Clad in high wool hats and mounted on Akhal Teke horses, the Turkmens were famous for their raids. Nomadic people, they were continually at war with neighboring states. Divided into tribes, who possessed the high pride in its own ancestry and considered its own tribe as true Turkmen.

 

In 18-20th centuries, all Turkic speaking nomadic groups who claimed themselves Turkmen traced their ancestry to the mythical Turkic warrior Oguz Khan. Turkic groups who didn’t claim that they come from Oguz Khan were not considered Turkmens, even if they spoke the same language and lived in the same area. Groups claiming that they are Turkmens could be found in in Central Asia, the Middle East, from North Caucasus to Iraq, Iran, Anatolian Turkey. Despite the single fact that Turkmes come from Oguz Khan, there isn’t one history between them. Turkmen tribes have the different stories about their history what can conflict and compete with each other. The modern descent groups were subdivisions of the larger category of Turkmens. The Turkmen population divided into a number of tribes, each thought to descend from one of Oguz’s son or grandsons. Each tribe named after the putative ancestor who founded that branch of family tree. For example, the Yomut tribe named for Yomut, said to have been the great-grandson of Oguz’s grandson Ogurjik. These tribes were divided into a series of ever smaller sections and subsections, each presumed to descend from a common ancestor.

            The largest subgroups of the Turkmen population: Tekes, Salir, Sariks, Yomuts, Choudirs, Goklengs, Ersaris were known as halq or il (halq or halk – people, il – country or yurt). Each of Turkmen tribes had its own genealogy, history, legends and myths. Each big tribe associated with a specific Turkmen dialect and had its own distinctive forms of dress and carpet ornaments. Last four tribes: Khoja (Hoca), Atta (Ata), Shikh, Mahtum Kuli families were descendants of caliphs Ali, Omar, Osma, Abubekr respectively, they enjoyed a privileged position amount the other Turkmen tribes because of their sacred origin.

Turkmen Tribes estimates in 1832: around … 700,000 persons

 

            In the mid-nineteenth century the most numerous and powerful was:

 

Teke tribe     who inhabited the Akhal (Akhal Tekes) and Mary (Mary Tekes) regions of present day Turkmenistan

Mahmud Kashghari mentioned Teke as one of Turkmen Oghuz tribes. Abul Ghazi describes the Sariks and Tekes as descendants of the Salur Toi-Tutmas. In 16th- 17th centuries, Tekes lived in Balkan and Kuren Dagh. In the 18th century Tekes started to move eastward where they displaced the Emrelis (descendants of old tribe Eimur) and the Karadashli (descendants of the old tribe Yazghir or Yazir) from Akhal area and the Sariks from Serakhs and Merw.

 

Yomut            Yomut was the founder of the tribe, and then the tribe line come from his four sons.The second largest tribe, located mainly in two geographical area: the Gurgan (Iran) and Balkan (Turkmenistan, along the Caspian Sea from Iranian border to the Gora Bogaz bay) regions.

                        Yomuts subtribes in 1844: Sheref, Chuni, Bayram  Shah, Kujuk Tatar, Ogurjali. In 1855 Persian Census Yomuts are divided into 17 subtribes.

                                   Some estimates in 1844: 40,000- 50,000 families. Regarded themselves as from noble lineage.

 

Goklengs (Goeklen)lived near the Gurgan Yomut regions in northern Khorasan province of Iran and along border in present day south western Turkmenistan ( Geoklengs claim themselves to come from old Oghuz Turkic tribe – Begdili)

                                   Goklen subtribes in 1832: Kayi, Karavul Khan, Bayindir, Kevish, Erkekli, Ay Dervish, Begdili, Yanak or Gerkez, Sengrik.

Some estimates in 1844: around 12,000 families. Regarded themselves as from noble lineage.

 

 

Ersari                        (Er- Brave, Sari- Yellow or Bright) In 16th centuries shared territories in Mangyshlak together with other Turkmen tribes, then ousted and started to move south-east. First to Akhal areas, Merw, then to Amul – Kerki and other line along former Uzboy River, then upstream of Amu Darya river to Afghanistan. Starting from 18th lived along Amu Darya river, near Bukhara area, in the east of Turkmenistan, Turkmenabat- Kerki areas. Some between Ersaris tell that they are descendants from old Oghuz Turkic tribe – Begdili, or the famous Oguz – Ogurdjik Alp Salor, accordingly to Abu Ghazi. Ersaris have four sub-tribes: Gara, Bekeul, Gunesh, Uludepe.

                        Late 13th, 14th- up to late 16th highly probable been an important part of Sayin Khan Turkmen (Salor) tribal union (Sayin Khan another local name of Genghis Khan’s grandson Batu).

                        Ersari Baba was the legendary leader of Ersari people and other Turkmen tribes (in Mangyshlak, Balkan Mountains). Who united Turkmen tribes into Sayin Khan Turkmen Tribal Union, all the Turkmen tribes who remained in the Oghuz Steppe after Mongol Invasion. 

 

 

Salir                           lived around Serakhs, along present day Iranian border. Together with Yomut, Teke, Sarik probably coming from old Oghuz Turkic Salur (Salyr) Tribes, Left Flank, Three Arrows, 2nd group – Tak Khan.

Sarik                          lived to the south of Mary oases, on Garabil plateau, near Afghanistan.

 

Choudir (Chowdir)  Belong to the old Oghuz Turkic tribe. Three Arrows - Left Flank of Oghuz Army order, Goek Khan group, meaning – famous (other interpretation – ‘herder’) They lived in the desert area between Khiva and Mangishlak plateau (to the south west from Northern Yomuts. Chowdur is one of the main Turkmen dialect.

                        In 11th moved in Mangyshlak plateau, followed by other Oghuz tribes Imir, Dukur, Doeger, Igdir, Karkin, Salor, Agar. Later, the tribe was part of Sayin Khan tribal union up to late 16th century. Then under authority of Northern Yomuts till 18th century. In 19th century Choudirs included Igdir, Bozachi, Abdal, Arabachi tribes

 

Tekes and Yomuts tribes (as others) divided into the subtribes and sections, who possessed their genealogy and distinctions. The smallest kin tribal section – tohum or bir ata was a group of families claiming the same ancestor three to five generations in the past. They have the same mutual obligations, use their resources to pay for wedding, circumcision celebrations, to ransom members captured by enemies, to replace stolen stock or protect each other or their guests.

            In the beginning, all Turkmen were nomadic pastoralists in the Karakum and Kyzylkum deserts (Oguz steppe), steppes in central Asia. They raised sheep, goats, camels, horses, having animal products as milk, cheese, wool and trading it to settled peoples for grain, tea, sugar, clothes, guns and other manufactured products. In the end of 19th century, Turkmen began to move into fertile oasis along the edges of Karakum desert to settle and start agriculture growing wheat, barley, vegetables, fruits, nut trees, grapes, rice, cotton, melons. The nomadic and sedentary life formed a continuum among some Turkmens, in the arid area relying mostly on the livestock herding and in the fertile regions making mainly agriculture. Settled Turkmens known as Chomur, and nomadic as Charwa.

            There is the proverb showing some aspects of Turkmen life ‘You can leave religion if you like, but you can not leave your people’. Turkmen lead the life, in accordance with customary law (adat – it was an elaborate unwritten code that regulated all aspects of life, from marriage, family relationship to land distribution and the conduct of war). This code was interpreted and enforced by the elders, known as yashuli (old men) or aksakgals (white beards) chosen between the most experienced and most influential oldest men in a tribe. Being Muslim was also part of Turkmen identity. Like a number of rural and tribal peoples throughout the Islamic world, Turkmen practiced a variety of popular or ‘folk’ Islam focused on the veneration of saints’ shrines and saintly lineages. Together that Turkmens observed Islamic practices of prayer, fasting at Ramadan, almsgiving; they had little familiarity with the great textual traditions of Islam. Man who could read and recite prayers respectfully called a mullah or cleric.

            By the late nineteenth century, Ersaris were subordinate to the Bukhara’s Emir, Yomuts around Khiva were the subjects to Khivan Khan, Tekes and Western Yomuts incorporated in Russian Empire, Goklengs and some Yomuts in the same area were under Persian rule. Nevertheless, the controlled Turkmen considered as unruly. Feared for their tendency to make raids for slaves and livestock on the border regions. Bukhara, Khiva, Persia, Afghanistan ‘always paid dearly whenever they let down their guard’ against supposedly submissive Turkmen tribes.

 

 

Turkoman carpets as a part of ethnography and way of life

 

 

Around the world, the oriental carpets divided in certain groups:

  • The largest and important group is Iranian or Persian carpets
  • Turkmen and Turkoman carpets of Central Asia, including Turkoman in Afghanistan, Iran, Baluchistan. The vivid, multicolored popular carpets.
  • Caucasian and Transcaucasia highly geometric patterned carpets
  • Turkish Anatolian the simpler designed carpets
  • Indian, Pakistani, Chinese carpets

 

 

Turkoman pastoralists always had the livestock of sheep, goats and camels. Nomadic carpet makers used wool for the warp and weft of a rug foundation fabric, and for the pile.

The knotted tufts make the pile surface of the knotted rugs. The knots can be different, Ghiordes knots have both tuft ends to the surface together between two warp yarns, and Sehna knots bring each end of the tuft to the surface separately. The last ones predominates in Central Asia and Far East. The use of knots depend on the origin of tribe or town producing a rug. The seating position of a weaver is convenient to the row of knots worked at a time, what raised or winded downward to start new row of knots.

The weaver’s loom employed upright, consisting of two strong beams connected by two vertical posts to make a steady frame. It is adjustable to make the different sized carpets. Sometimes, it positioned horizontally on the floor/ ground, if the size of a carpet is huge. The warp (lengthwise) threads stretched between the two beams evenly spaced and regularly spun, making the even pile forming beneath the surface.

The weaver ties the rows of knots accordingly to the pattern. When the entire row of pile knotted, the weaver came to another row of knots. After two, three or four weft, or crosswise, threads are forced down by weaver’s knife, causing the pile to stand out. Density of pile is around 300,000 – 500,000 knots to square meter. Highest records are more than 1,000,000 knots per square meter (in the carpet museum in Ashgabat). The experienced weaver makes around 8,000 knots per day, then for a good carpet, it may take months to finish work. The desired carpet pattern provided first on a colored chart of squared paper.

In old times, only natural dyestuffs used to color the wool. For example: red coming for the roots of the madder plant, carmine red from cochineal (female Coccus cacti), reddish browns from ox blood, yellow from the reseda plant or from saffron crocus, vine leaves and pomegranate skins, blue is dyed with indigo. Natural wool shades produced greys and brown, although nutshells and bark used. Modern synthetic dyestuffs allow greater flexibility than the traditional dyes. Turkoman rugs woven in geometric designs, employing vivid reds, browns and greens.

Turkmen proverb about carpet: ‘stronger than a stone, but softer a rose’. Carpets accompany a Turkmen all his life. Babies come in on the carpets, carpets make warm on the floor, used as a furniture and wall decoration in a yurta, as decorations for the horses, camels, make prayer rugs, covered old men for the last journey. Interlaced within daily life of the nomads. The vivid geometrical patterns differ Turkmen carpets, the most famous are from Yomut, Ersari, Saryk, Salor, Tekke, Chodor, Arabatchi. Turkmen peoples who lived in these tribes, inspired by nature, traditions, history to create the geometrical shapes (Goel), animal like symbols, flower and earth like forms on their carpets. Like books, Turkoman nomad carpets telling the stories about their lives, conception of the world, struggles and beliefs. In old times, Turkmens had been good navigators in the desert, using the stars on the night sky to find a path or guess the upcoming weather. Having this vast steppe of sands, as their home. They paid great attention the life around and this knowledge stamped on the carpets, like the Turkmen maps of the past, the intangible world heritage.

The known descriptive term ‘Bukhara carpets’ in fact was the marketing center for Turkmen and other Central Asia carpets, with dealer marketing Turkmen carpets as ‘Royal Bukhara’ or ‘Princess of Bukhara’ labels.  Yomut carpets early distinctions come to the following tribes Igdyr, Abdal, Karadashli. Goklan rugs could be related to specific weavings.

Turkmen carpets trusted classification method leads to the tribe origin and object type. However taking a carpet as individual piece accordingly to its provenance open distinctive peculiarity of the groups of weavings (history of the tribe, favored ornaments, methods of weaving, contacts with other cultures). Giving the broader picture on the aspects of the beautiful and complex phenomenon of Central Asia contribution to textile culture of the world. The narrative character of Turkmen carpet ornaments well understood and often spoken about by specialists based on the 100 years studies of Turkmen weavings. However, only the historical approach makes it possible to systemize chronologically the enormous variety of Turkmen carpet motifs and structure, use them as a source for the attribution of the rugs.  

 

 

 

Nomad’s Dwelling - Yurt History, Structure and Advantages

 

   Yurts are one of the oldest forms of indigenous shelter, still used today by nomads from Turkey to Mongolia. In the vast land spaces of Central Asia, Eurasia, two tribal groupings have remained distinct. The Turkic tribes wandering from China in the east, to Iran lands in the west. The Mongolian tribes, which thought to have originated in Buryat regions of Siberia (ranged from Siberian regions of Buryatia and Tuva in the north, through Mongolia, and south to the Inner Mongolia region in China).

When these tribes started using the yurts? No one really knows. Some scholars believe Turkic tribes used the yurt in the middle of the first millennium AD. Others traced it back to the Scytho-Sakian era, 8th -10th centuries BC.

Nomads did not leave behind the buildings, monuments or libraries. The perishable wood and felt dwellings erected directly on the ground and then moved from encampment to encampment.

Accordingly, to the oral traditions of the tribes, the yurt’s connection to the tribal identity dates back even further. For example, the Gokleng Turkmen claim that the prophet Nuh (Noah) created the yurt. Near Eastern historian Mirkhwand, writing in the late 15th century, proposed that the yurt invented by Noah’s grandson Turk, son of Japheth. The Chinese poet Po Chu-I, 829-846 AD, described the yurt in his poem. Middle East Al- Yaqubi wrote about the Turkic tribes: These Turks have neither refuges at halting places nor strongholds. They only pitch Turkish domes, which are ribbed and the nails are strips from the hides of pack animals and cattle, and the coverings are felts.

The Turkic tribes call their round nomadic shelters uy (uiy), oy (oey), ev, og. This term means home or dwelling. (Mongol yurts – Mongol Ger, Buryat Log Ger). Turkic tribes distinct between Kara Oy (black dwelling) and Ak Oy (white dwelling). The lighter colored (white) felt is made with less common white wool. It is considered more desirable, reserved for weddings and ceremonial purposes or afforded by the wealthy.

The rounded (domed) shape of yurt comes from its bentwood roof struts. The simple, lightweight center ring is also coming for earlier times. The number of slats placed across the center ring varies from tribe to tribe. The trellis wall are usually around 130 - 150 cm tall. The yurts have a simple, lightweight doorframe that is taken apart from transport. The threshold is low, although it may be taller in snowy climates. The door made from felt, often backed with a reed for stiffness. Door covering could be a rug (ensi). The wooden doors have been adapted later, formerly used by tribal leaders.

Three different woven belts used with a yurt. One belt, which can be thin or wide, stretches from the doorframe around the upper perimeter of the yurta at the level of the top trellis crossing. This functions as the tension band, holding the trellis wall in place against the outward thrust of the roof struts. A wide bellyband may be tied around the center of the trellis wall. A third thin belt is wound around each roof strut in turn, holding the struts at the correct spacing and keeping them from twisting. The three bands are decorative as well as functional.

Many tribes use reed or cane mats on their walls, often as a summer covering to allow for airflow while keeping out the herd animals. They are also used in conjunction with the wall felts, sometimes the reed mats are on the outside, sometimes on the inside. The many variations between the clans are due the availability of resources, cultural traditions and climate.

Some tribes applied more decoration in their yurts. Woodwork may be painted red or brown. Yurts interior are full of multicolored felts and rugs and woven elements, sometimes with decorative tassels hanging from the roof ring.

The floor of the yurt covered first with felted rugs forming a soft warm surface for the people to walk and sit on. The inside walls lined with woven carpets servicing as day decorations and used as bedding during a night. Under the high central ring, to allow air to circulate inside, was a stove (or fire), to cook meals for the family or to heat the interior of the yurt. In front of the stove, a specially shaped rug keeping the sparks falling on other rugs or coverings. The stove framed with mud bricks or wood around one meter on each side. Yurt interior divided into 4 sections. Near the door in front of the yurt, people left the shoes, tied up animals, receiving ordinary guests. Behind the stove, family sleeping area and place to meet the respected guests. Where family best carpet unrolled. At night, the family slept in a row along the back of a yurt. The men were on one side and women on the other, their head pointing to the Mecca. The work area of men was on one side of the stove, the women’s part on the other side. Both sides furnished with the equipment required to perform the certain tasks. Accordingly, to the tribe, the assigned side for each sex may differ to the left or to the right from central roof opening. The women’s side known as pot area, with all supplies for cooking stored on posts or trestles above the ground. The different rug bags laced on the wall with sheers, spoons, clothes… The men’s side known as provisions side. For the salt, grain, rice, other dried food stored into paired bags hanging on the wall, newly shorn fleeces, unused felts, area for the arms.

All the materials of the Central Asia yurt are available on the steppe and can be processed by the herders themselves. However, it is common practice for nomads to purchase the wooden framework from a nomad carpenter or a settled craftsman, who lives near the source of wood (willow or fir) and has the requisite tools and equipment on hand. The trellis wall unit is made up of 10 to 16 whole willow rods (or split wooden laths) that run in each direction, shorter rods make up the corners. Holes are drilled in the rods at a precise spacing with either a hot iron or a bow drill. Then wet rawhide strips are knotted, pulled through the hole, knotted again and cut. As the hide dries, it tightens and draws the slats together.

The crisscrosses at the top of the wall are called ‘heads’ and at the bottom, it is called ‘feet’. Usually, foot sections are longer than the head sections to provide greater traction and the stability for the yurt. A typical yurt uses four lattice wall sections. Wealthy families may have a large yurt of six to eight sections. Yurt size is also measured by the number of heads along the top of the trellis. A yurt of 60 heads is standard family size, 80-100 heads is considered large.

The bentwood roof poles shaped by soaking and heating them to soften the wood and then bending them in a jig. In a nomadic situation, the poles are heated in a pile of composting dung, or a flue is dug into the ground to create a fire or steam box. A barrel stove may be used for the same purpose in a village context.

The jug for the rood poles can be made of pegs hammered into a log, or it may be a permanent setup. Once bent, the roof poles are stacked and left for up a week on a template   of stakes driven into the ground to set the curve.

The roof poles have a hole drilled in the bottom end through which a loop or lanyard is tied. Turkic tribes tie the roof struts to the top of the lattice wall using a figure-eight pattern. The top end of the roof pole is usually squared or rounded keeping the center ring from twisting in high winds. The struts tied with bands at the curve to keep them in place. The center rings, two or three saplings bent into semicircles and fastened with rawhide strips or metal hoops.

One of tangible advantages of the yurt is that there are no corners to catch the wind, which naturally flows over and around the yurt.

Because of the combination of a central compression ring at the top of the roof and the encircling tension band where the roof meets the wall, long roof spans are possible without any internal support system (like posts, trusses or beams). This gives the yurt an uncommon feeling of spaciousness and uplift. The roof design also creates an incredibly strong and resilient structure that is uniquely equipped to withstand earthquakes, strong winds and heavy snow loads.

 

 

 

Turkic - Turkmen folklore traditions and musical instruments

 

   Epics are one of the major arts of the Turkic nomad groups. In includes Korkut Ata, Gorogly for Turkmen, Koroghlu for Azeri, Manas for the Kyrgyz, Alpamysh for Uzbeks. Gorogly is the main Turkmen epic, with more than two hundred songs, based on the life of Rushan, a Tekke in early 17th century. As in other epics, the hero represents the values of courage, generosity and loyalty. The story touches on the romantic of Middle Eastern Poetry, moral values, historical references and cultural motifs, such as the value of a horse for Turkmen. This epic is also known in the Caucasus, Turkey and Kurdistan.

  The epics presented by bakhshi, traditional singers or roaming minstrels who are sometimes considered shamans, especially in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The bakhshi perform music in the evenings or during the celebrations for weddings or circumcisions. Their art has its corpus poems. Transmitted orally, the bakhshi develop and embellish the epics according to their personal interpretation. Turkmen music accompanies them. The rythms are chosen to illustrate the events of the story, like a racehorse or the romantics of a young girl. The most common musical instrument are the dutar (a kind of mulberry lute with two strings that dates to antiquity), the tuyduk (an oboe reed), the gyjak (a form of fiddle). This art has been traditionally male, but has been partially appropriated by women. Many traditional melodies recorded and transcribed by ethnologists and folklorists.

            Bakhshi is a cultural tradition, which is strongly aligned with Central Asia bardic practices found in the culture of the oriental Turkic tribes. The tradition has the roots in the ancient animist and shaminst traditional practices in Central Asia. The meaning of word bakhshi is debated, some believe it derive from Chinese boshi (teacher), while others linked it to the old Turkic verb, meaning “to look carefully or to investigate”. In Turkmenistan, bakhshi referes to a performer who is well respected for the art to sing, play and tell stories (in the form of reciting long narrative songs known as destans). The practice of setting poetry to music is directly related to many of the customs brought to Anatolia by the westward migrations of the Turkmen tribes during the 11th century. There are male and female bakhshi. The female bakhshi tradition started after 1930. However, that sometimes due to the vocal character of the bakhshi repertoire it is still relatively uncommon to find female bakhshi who can sing in this range. The legendary figure of Dede Korkut, the prototypical Turkic bard, who is venerated as the saint-protector of bakhshi (bagshy) and is the central heroic figure of the eponymous epic tale “The Book of Dede Korkut”. In the epic, Dede Korkut is an ozan or shaman-bard, who recounts the history of the pre-Islamic Oghuz group of Turkic tribes – the ancestors of the Turkmen.

 

The musical instruments classify:

 

Chordophones.

   Dutar comes from the Persian word “two string” (do-tar). It is the traditional long necked two stringed lute known in Central Asia and in Iran. It is usually tuned in 4th and it has 13 adjustable frets allowing to play the full semitones scale on the instrument. It is also most common musical instrument found in all of the main genres of Turkmen music. The apparent simplicity of playing a two stringed lute is also part of its charm to the many musicians who play it. Dutar music difference is that perfection of the music lies in the sophistication of the playing technique and is not on the instrument. The most closed cognates of Dutar, in the Central Asia, are Dombra and Komuz. In the meanwhile, Dutar music in Turkmenistan and in Uzbekistan is different, as it is based on the varied musical compositions and involve different playing techniques.

While playing, strings are plucked and strummed (Uzbeks, Turkmen, Tajik way of playing) and only plucked by Uyghurs in Western China. Musician playing the dutar is known as bakhshi. (Kurdish – bakci, Azeri – ashiq).  Dutar is known from 15th century as a shepherd’s musical instrument. In the beginning, the strings made of gut or catgut (the natural fibre of animals intestines), later changed to the twisted silk. To this day, some instruments use the silk strings, although nylon strings are also commonly used. Together with the modern strings.

Notable dutar players: Turgun Alimatov Uzbekistan, Abdurahim Hamidov Uzbekistan, Haj Ghorban Soleimani Iran, Aliia Gholi Yeganeh Turkmen, Abdurehim Heyit Uyghur.

 

            Gyjak (Gidzhak) – a spike fiddle with a loud, full - bodied sound that is used both as a solo instrument and to accompany singing. The traditional three-stringed gyjak and a modernized version having four strings, like a violin or viola. The only stringed instrument Turkmens played with a bow. The instrument is played upright, resting on a little peg arranged to its base. The instrument usually made of mulberry or apricot wood.

The role of the gyjak is essential, leading the main melodic line of a song and embellishing it with ornaments and grace notes, as if competing with the singer’s voice in artistry and virtuosity. The gyjak players place the importance on the use of melisma, grace notes, mordents.

 

Aerophones.

            Tuyduk

The gargy-tuyduk is a long reed flute with a wonderful melancholic sound, blowing the wind or free flying horse in the desert. As per legend, the origin is connected to the Alexander the Great, the similar instrument existed in the Ancient Egypt. There is also connection with Kargyra – the style of guttural singing for two voices of the northern Turkic speaking people (Khakass, Yakut, Tuva). The sound of gargy tuyduk has much in common with the two voiced kargyra. Playing the gargy tuyduk the melody is clearly heard, while the lower droning sound is barely audible.

 

The dilli-tuyduk is a much shorter flute, producing a shriller sound. There are two versions of the instrument: one is with the reed end closed and other with open reed end. Three or four finger holes cut in the upper part of the flute, at 5-6 mm intervals. Its range is between 6th and 7th. Some sounds have to be made by overblowing or partly exposing the finger holes. It is used to play the tunes of Turkmen folk songs, starting in a long drawn out sound going into the main melody

 

Idiophones.

   Gopuz known as a Jew’s harp, small metal musical instrument in the form of crescent, played mostly by women. Putting it in the mouth, making the mouth as sound chamber and the breath register the varied pitch. The source of the sound is the inside centered steel reed employed with quickly moving finger to produce the distinctive string like sounds composing in one melody. It is done from high alloy spring steel, wider inside of the crescent (or arc) and coming thinner outside, bent forward at its end 85-90 degrees for better use.  Gopuz players often uses the tongue up to make sounds as the galloping of hooves, some players started to imitate the techniques of northern people.

 

   Deprek –a percussion instrument, drum, Turkmen word dep or deprek meaning strike. Coming from the tambourines of the old Turkic world. It has rounded wooden frame with a leather membrane pulled over one end and small iron rings fixed inside. It is played with the hands; palm claps create varied rhythms into one drumming tune. Drummers played from simple drumming to 7-8 rhythms complex techniques. The round shape of the drum show the Universe and the eager rhythms like its beating pulse, waking up the dormant spirit and energy. In old times, drums made of the skin of reptile or fish, pulled over a wooden frame.

 

 

 

 

 

Turkmen jewelry art

 

   Jewelry is one of the most developed of Turkmen handicrafts. Four tribes are famous for their jewelry: the Yomut, the Tekke, the Ersary and to a lesser extent the Saryk. Turkmen jewelry most often comes in very sober and precise geometric shapes. It is made of silver, decorated with various stones (carnelian, jasper, onyx, agate, turquoise), has a symbolic function, supposed to protect against the ‘evil eye’. Jewelry makes up a major part of the dowry for brides and is then added to what a young girl receives from her mother. Turkmen jewelry comes in the forms of headdresses, bracelets, earrings, heavy collars and breastplates, in some cases containing magic formulas, verses from Koran, or personal texts. Most of these jewelry made the first half of 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. The Metropolitan Museum has the oldest collection of Turkmen jewelry, dated back to 19th century.

   The jewelry for Turkmen women, is the essential part of their life, what compose the beliefs of happiness, health, fertility, protection; the relationship inside of tribe and outside between the tribes societies; the part of the ancestral history and the origins. It combines perfectly with the dresses, enriching it, adding the meaning and the form. Turkmen women change it for everyday life or for the celebration of wedding, circumcision or meeting each other at the evenings or during the work. The big size and large dimensions are the visual features of jewelry works. The full set of jewelry may be up to 6-8 kg. Even further, the bride set of jewelries may weigh up to 17 kg. Turkmen artists have amazingly designed the ornaments for all parts of body in a combination with the woman’s clothing and variety of tribes, accompanying Turkmen women between the childhood and the old age.  Some similarity of the ornaments to the armor point to their past usage in war or conceived as kind of shield, helmet that women used in a battle.

   The main material of Turkmen ornaments is silver. The gold is rarely used, mainly only for coating. Another features, is the variety of semiprecious stones (as mentioned before). It seems that red agate (bloodstone) is against bleeding, ulceration and abortion. Blue turquoise protects against the evil eye, which related to rare blue eyes in the area. These jewels of large size and weight produce the impressive motion concert of variety of red-blue-brown- silver colors, forms, stones and decorative tassels of by passing Turkmen women.

   The ornaments motifs can be classified to several groups:

 

Animal motifs:   The numerous totemic beliefs were common among the Oghuz tribes. The sheep and wolf have the special places.

 

Ram’s horn as the symbol of nomadic living, fertility, power.

Wolf (She- Wolf) is associated with the Oghuz Turkic foundation myth, appearance of the Turks.

Birds,the symbol of ascension, is presented as abstract and outlined. The birds of prey are admired for their power and glory, selected as the ongon (symbol) of a tribe. Representing the spirits of human being.

Fish symbol of fertility and pregnancy, is offered as abstract at the end of most pendants

Snakes winding wire, s-shaped forms and the natural image of snake with connection to ancient myths, associated with renewed youth, immortality, longevity and wisdom

Camel motifs as symbol of endurance and tolerance

 

Herbal, Tree motifs:   Mainly (5-9) leaves flowers, in circles or bush-like motifs. Aidi Flower motif with 9 petals as symbol of fertility for women.

Tree motif related to the past myths and to shaman rituals, important was Birch Tree (Dagdan – protection motif, from evil eye and disease. This motif is met on the carpets)

 

Human motifs:   outlined as abstract figures

 

Celestial motifs:   Sun, Moon, Stars. Eight pointed star as the symbol of the sun, symbol of luck and fortune. Sun and Moon motifs as symbol of light and bright to home, represented in a circle motif, in which other circles repeated around it, with surrounding decorative stones as stars.

 

Geometric motifs:   Round, Square, Diamond shaped – used as general forms of the ornaments. The tiny motifs of circle and triangle shown on the jewels.

Stones are worked in the forms of circle, oval or almond shape. Hexagonal, rhomboid, triangle shapes used to prevent the evil eye.

 

Arabesque or Eslimi motifs:   used in most jewels. Another term of Islam, the special abstract motifs, derived form natural and herbal motifs which form in spiral circles. Arabesques curves have inside and outside directions, which is the essence of Eslimi, this direction is infinitive and considered as a symbol of immortality.

 

 

 

 

Turkmen Wedding Traditions

 

   Turkmen traditions remain strong in present time. Even if they lost some original meaning and sometimes are decorative, it is still local beliefs of everyday day life or of important rituals for special events and celebrations.

 

Marriage/ Turkmen Lullaby:

My daughter is the fruit of my garden,

A thousand will come to my flower,

From among the thousands,

One man will take her away.

 

I will hold horse races at your toy,

To the guests coming from afar,

I will give a gift of fine velvet.

 

    Starting wedding negotiations, the first encounters to choose a good family for the bride. Preferably within the same tribe, with the good background for the future of a couple. Secondly, personal qualities are important. Girl’s parents look for a young man with the good habits, who is able to provide for a wife and children. Boy’s parents are more demanding. Who look for a girl able to bear children, paying attention to the married women within her family, look for the evidence that girl desire and able to work hard and serve her future mother in law, skilled in the carpet making, knitting, embroidery. Chastity and modesty are essential qualities of a wife. A girl with high qualities may receive many marriage offers from families having a son. In Turkmen tradition, there are several rounds of talks before girl’s mother persuaded. Even, when girl’s parents are satisfied with boy’s family, they should not appear eager to give her daughter away. During talks, boy’s family offer sweets or cakes to girl’s family as symbol of sweet relations in the future. In return, girl’s family offer also sweets, biscuits as a good sign to finish their talk positive.

   The next step is to agree a price for the bride – kalim (galing). The original purpose of kalim was to ensure that the girl’s family compensated for the daughter and housekeeper. The practice continues today, many brides are in favor of it, because most of the money and goods go to the young couple. There are also some ways to avoid the payment. One is basha bash “head for head” – the arrangements when the parents give a daughter and receive a bride for their son. Another way is the marriage by capture, avoid to pay kalim, by abducting a desired girl. In general, this way not preferable as even the poorest families believe that elopement is a dishonorable way to begin a marriage, as it prevents many of the rituals to ensure happy continuation.

   Kalim paid in kind, usually goes to the young couple. It is made up of carpets, blankets, jewelry, dresses, fabric for dresses, television or even sometimes a car…A virgin is more costly than a widow, a college graduate can be less costly than a girl with little education (but it all depends on families). If, it is clear that a family really wants a particular girl the Kalim may be higher.

   After the talks are finished and agreed, the wedding day is chosen. The marriage date calculated with the help of mullah and the elderly people who has the knowledge of the disposition of the stars. If, it is believed that a star have influence on the marriage and the date could not be changed. Some rituals are done. The bread baked and distributed to neighbors and acquaintances that road will be associated with happiness, the sacrifice to God for blessing. Another tradition is to put a needle and thread on the road leading to the wedding place in an attempt to disorientate a star.

   After, the engagement announced, there is a great sense of urgency for a bride to finish her trousseau. Started in the childhood, it should be finished before the date of the marriage. Bride’s dowry is also important part of the wedding rituals. A girl starts to prepare her dowry long before the marriage, her first carpet woven for this. Her experience in carpet and felt making, cooking, keeping the house and others. The material part of dowry may include the utensils, carpets and rugs, jewels, complete set of clothes, embroideries. Nine days before wedding it is all sent to the groom’s family house.

 

   At Turkmen wedding tradition, boy’s family have the greater reason for celebration, as they welcoming in their home a young healthy woman, with hope that she soon bear their grandchildren. The day before the bride arrives, the mother of the groom meet her female relatives and friends to wish the young couple a happy life.

   Wedding celebration starts in the bride’s home on the day of the wedding. All Turkmen brides are expected to cry as a sign of respect for the family they leave, for many the tears come naturally. The home and the street decorated with the balloons and flags. When groom arrives at bride’s house, some women block the entrance to prevent groom to come in. Some fun fight and negotiation of price occur before to let a groom and his friends to come inside. The fun continues inside, when a groom is lead to some room where five young girls awaited him, all dresses the same -in silk red dresses, sitting with their backs to a groom. Eventually, he should find his bride. If chosen wrong, to the delight and fun of the people around. He should pay to all four girls to take his bride. Fun negotiations start about the prices where all participate.

   Then bride finish the dressing. Two of the married women placed the silver dome shaped headdress on the bride and covered it with the thick white tasseled shawl. Bride start sobbing openly, then the ceremonial coat (kuerte) placed on her head. With the symbolic attempt - bride’s friends remove it, to protect her from the marriage; the older women put it again. It is repeated twice before bride’s friends say her goodbyes. The older woman start to sing some wedding songs, accompanied by rhythmic clapping. The groom returns and take his bride, heavily dressed and veiled, her steps are small and slow (she can not see clearly and her legs ceremonially tied below the knees), symbolizing the transformation from a girl to a mature woman. In the past she would travel by camel in the colored palanquin, now, it is the motorcade of cars.

   The wedding procession was the brightest part of the ceremony, rich in colors and decorations. Girls and women in beautiful costumes sat on the camels, adorned with carpets, jingling bells and shawls. Now, the camels changed for the modern cars making the wedding motorcade, all decorated with the scarves, toys or ketene – fabric. The women wedding costumes are rich and diverse. The red color dress is the most popular. The dress from silk homespun fabric- ketene, studded with silver jewels and embroidered collar.

           

 

Water flows beyond the opening,

Silver jewels wave in the wind,

When a new bride arrives,

Who cares about the old bride?

 

   When a bride enters her husband house, there is another tradition of relegation of the previous “new” bride to the status of the old bride. An old bride sit defiantly inside of yurt on the bridal rug. A black and white thread, the symbol of snake, attached loosely around the edge of the rug, to protect her from evil eye. Outside, the fun fights happen by old bride friends in attempt to prevent new bride to enter. The woman began to dance, while groom give the money to the woman blocking the door. The groom and bride allowed to come inside. She step with right foot for good luck. Groom’s relatives dip her hand in flour and in oil, that she be good housewife and compliant to the wishes of her husband. Old bride still refusing her place, but after some attempts and accepting the money from the groom, she cedes this place to the new wife.

   The celebration continue in the evening. Turkmen wedding toy is the huge gathering with many guests. It is given by the groom’s parents and usually is expensive. The families can held it at restaurant or at their courtyard or in the street. This is the time to meet with relatives from distant towns or villages. The food for the event can be different, but always with main Turkmen dishes; the sheep meat soup Shorba and mutton Pilaw. There can be 300, 500 or even 700 guests to arrive at the celebration.

   At one side, on the platform the music is blaring through the very powerful speakers, a mixture of the modern and traditional Turkmen music. At the opposite side, on the raised platform sitting the groom with bride and their two friends. The bride wear a red veil trimmed with gold braid covering the silver headdress and falling to the wait of her red silk dress. Her face is serious but no longer tearful. The headdress is with long pendants, rings on every finger, several wide bracelets extending from her wrists to the elbows. The colors of the bride’ attire combine with the decorations around. The rows of the long tables enough to set many guests. The closest table to the married couple are for their friends. The celebration continues in the vivid way, drinking the toasts to young couple and popular dancing. The guests present the wedding gifts. The young couple came down to receive their gifts and join in the dancing before to return to their seats. At the end, the young couple is leaving, the guests bid them farewell, dancing and clapping around

 

To take a girl, to give a girl,

Is an ancient rite,

The parents of the bride and groom,

Are holding a toy.

             

   A little a month later after wedding, the married daughter goes to her parents, where the special festival gathering is organized. Here, she attires in the special red gown and wears the olive shawl, returning back in this dressing