plate 1

illustration 38
Asymmetry in Turkmen weaving is very rare, the balanced grid-gol format being almost universally the rule. There is one group of weaving, those made by the Chodor, that utilize the grid-gol format in a unique asymmetric manner and comparison with the following two textiles helps to place their weaving style in its historical context.
illustration 39

Examining the first textile’s grid-gol layout shows a very unusual three- plane lattice or trellis. The first is defined by eight small amorphous abstract ‘bird’ elements,illustration 40, surrounding the star in a parallelogram minor gol.

The larger tear-drop shape, white background, major gol and their strange ‘insect-like’ central design are also surrounded by the second trellis. This has been defined using the lampas technique to create a structural rather than a design trellis. That trellis can be seen in illustration 41 as the darker bars(we have used white circles to highlight the bars) connecting four minor gol and surrounding each of the major gol within another larger, but far more subtle parallelogram.

illustration 40

The third plane are the two major gol-like elements, the white background tear-shaped objects and the smaller star in parallelogram.

These features have significant relationship to archaic period ertman gol, Chodor chuval illustrated above.

illustration 41

Notice both have a star in parallelogram minor gol, and although not as easily seen the birds, illustration 43, inside the chuval’s major gol echo those far more abstract ones that define the trellis surrounding the textile’s star in parallelogram minor gol.

But their relationship doesn’t stop there, notice the pairs of double hook amulets, the Turkmen call kotchak, above the chuval’s two complete white and the red ground major gol also appear in each of the textile’s white background tear-shaped major elements, although not in the same position.

illustration 42
Also worth noting is the way the subtle structural trellis that connects the textile’s star in parallelogram element creates a similar, though far less accentuated, jagged undulating

illustration 43

perimeter that flanks the chuval’s major and minor gol.

It is hard to believe these, and all the other cited iconographic parallel, are accidental and not part of an potent and ancient set of images, icons and amulets. Perhaps the best way to understand this presentation is to realize Turkmen pile weaving and the earlier textiles from the target group, like all Near Eastern ancient artworks, reused and re-synthesized far earlier ancient iconographic elements.

illustration 44


Another textile discovered by Stein at Dunhaung has important connection to the Chodor chuval’s undulating grid-gol format.



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