Carpets from Turkmenistan


The second Turkmen tribe to gain importance prior to the Tekke were the Yomut. They had already established themselves by the end of the 17th century and sometime during the first quarter of the 20th century ceased to exist as an important group. Like the Tekke, the Yomut did not belong to the original collection of tribes, since neither Mahmud Kashghari nor Rashid al-Din mentioned them, only Abul Ghazi, in his 17th century text makes reference to them. This was during his great-grandfather’s time, like we have already mentioned concerning the Tekke(44).

By the middle of the 18th century they had become powerful and prominent enough to move into and take control of the important city of Khiva (1743). But they had help, as they were only able to take over the city after Nader, the Shah of Persia, had conquered Khiva and executed its ruler Ibras Khan in 1740.

The Yomut simply took advantage of the ensuing anarchy, controlling the city for almost two years until Nadir Shah sent his nephew Ali Kuli Khan to Khiva. He then expelled the Yomut, and the tribe fled towards the Balkan region. During their time there, in the Balkan, the Yomut eventually displaced the Tekke from this area forcing them to migrate east.

The Yomut were, most probably, only able to defeat the Tekke because they must have absorbed a number of earlier and formerly important tribes, which allowed them to gain both in numbers and in strength(46). The Yomut did again conquer Khiva twice, controlling it from 1767 until 1777 and then retaking it a third time in 1804. (45)**we need to change footnote number here

During the 18th and 19th century the Yomut are of immense importance to the history and artistry of this region, and so it is no wonder they have now finally attracted the attention of researchers.

It was not long ago the carpets of the Tashaudor, Arabatshi, Goklan, Karadashli, Igdyr, Abdal and Eagle-Gol II (mostly West-Turkmen tribes) were referred to as Yomut. As a matter of fact, these attributions, though incorrect, are still in use today.

Of course, these new attributions (names) have met with criticism and suspicion but some of them have persevered and are now commonly accepted and used.

Carpet specialists all agree on the general characteristics used to define the Choudor tribe’s rugs, though another group, now called the pseudo-Choudor(P-Chodor), has recently been added to it.(47). Another group, the Arabachi, are now considered separate from this clan. Also, a general consensus and recognition has occurred concerning another related, but distinctly different, group known as the Goklan(48).

According to the Russian ethnologist G. I. Karpov(49), the Yomut tribe was divided into the subgroups listed below. By the way, Nicolaus of Murawiew, in the year of 1819, estimated there were about 40,000 Yomut and 50,000 Tekke kibitkes (the dome tents of the Turkmen), which were also called Oy(50).

  1. The Ulty Temir or Bajram Schali mostly lived in Khiva and had four Tireh:
    1. Ushak consisted of five Urug:
      1. Barak,
      2. Khoji
      3. Tevli
      4. Marsak
      5. Temetshy
    2. Salakh consisted of four Urug:
      1. Kara-Boin
      2. Ak-Salakh
      3. Kara Salakh
      4. Okus (Oghuz) consisted of two Urug:
      1. Ak Okus
      2. Kara Okus
    3. Orsukchi consisted of four Urug:
      1. Juneid
      2. Vekil-Kel
      3. Krymsa
      4. Kara Khoja.
  2. The Kulty-Temir or Kara Chokal lived by the Caspian Sea and consisted of two Tireh:
    1. Choni Atabai consisted of fourteen Urug:
      1. Mehmed-Alyk
      2. Tatar
      3. Batrak
      4. Chak
      5. Ak-Tobin
      6. Aimir
      7. Topar
      8. Kan-Yukmas
      9. Ikdyr
      10. Dach
      11. Kesarka
      12. Atabai
      13. Aschir-Gok
      14. Ak
    2. Sherif-Jjaffar-Bai consisted of eight Urug:
      1. Nur-Ali
      2. Kujuk
      3. Bechelke
      4. Yar-Ali
      5. Emr-Ali (Imr-Ali)
      6. Ilgaz
      7. Jujeji
      8. Karovi

(in fact 224 names are listed)(51).