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But not to be redundant we cannot stress enough the parallels, similarities and relationships presented herein were not provided to prove or even to imply the iconography on Turkmen pile weavings was lifted from earlier textiles, other pile weaving or some of the other objects we reference. Rather our only purpose has been to demonstrate their relationship and the existence of their common roots all these works share.

Long ago in 1985 I wrote a short monograph titled The Pre-History of south-west Turkestan. This overview survey of archaeological investigations in Turkmenistan was then included in the book Tent Band Tent Bag: Classic Turkmen Weaving published in 1989. Along with the introduction I wrote, pages 12-38, the commentaries I also wrote, pages 40-81 as captions for the twenty Turkmen weavings from my collection, included a number of archaeological references.

That introduction and monograph highlighted the long and well-documented pre-historic cultural developments in Turkestan, and in the short comments to the Turkmen weavings from my collection some interesting pre-historic objects were cited.

Since that time I have continued researching the history and development of Turkmen pile weaving and this presentation for the Weaving Art Museum describes my latest findings and interpretations. By re-referencing some of those archaeological objects now, and offering additional new material, I believe the deep historic, as well as the pre-historic, roots of the Turkmen weaving culture will be exposed for a new and larger audience.

There is little wonder the animals in the tauk nauska gol and others that are more abstract appear on so many early Turkmen pile weavings, as ceramic bulls, other zoomorphic figurines and other animal references are frequently discovered at the earliest archaeological sites in Turkmenistan.

This wall painting found in Turkmenistan at Pessejik-depe, dated circa 5,600BC, is one of the earliest but there are many others we could cite.

illustration 58

Over the next several millennia (5,000-2,000BC) a number of small animal statuettes are found at various sites, and others are pictured on ceramics.

The various gol containing the tauk nauska icon and other animal references should rightly be seen as a continuation of this well-developed prehistoric animistic iconography. It is most probable these objects reflect the importance hunting and animal husbandry have always maintained for the lifestyles of the inhabitants who lived at the many now known and investigated archaeological sites in Turkmenistan.

illustration_59a illustration_59b
illustration 59a
illustration 59a


illustration 60
illustration 61

The ceramic pot pictured to the left, with its decorated horizontal band, is typical of many others that date from the Namazga II period, circa 4,500BC. During this period many pots like this one with various decorated horizontal bands were found throughout the Gorgan Plain and Kopet Dagh. Some of these, like this one and illustration 61, display icons and animals with head-crest that relate well to those from later Turkmen pile weaving.


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