Carpets from Turkmenistan


The Salor tribe played an immensely significant and versatile role in the history of the Turkmen. They belonged to the original tribes of Oghuz-Khan (the ancestor of the Turkmen), and are mentioned as such by authors Mahmud Kashghari and Rashid al-Din(52). As mentioned before, the important Iranian historian Eskandar Beg Munshi grouped them with the Yake- or Sayen-Khani-Turkmen. These Turkmen actually belong to the Khiva tribes that were settled in the area between Gurgan and Atrak(53) and this is why I have earlier proposed the Salor were part of the Khorassan Salor tribe.

Salor was the first son of Tak-Khan, the 21st grandson of Oghuz-Khan, and he belonged to the left flank of his army. This clan became quite important after the fall of the Yazir (Karadashli) in the 13th and 14th century, and subsequently they gained power in the 14th and 15th century.

In fact, the Salor rose to such prominence that the most distinguished historian of the 17th century, Abul Ghazi Bahadur Khan, ruler of Khiva (1643/44 until 1663), mentioned all other tribes only in relation to them (Shadjareye Tarakeme, published in 1659 A.D.).

This author and historian alluded to inner and outer Salor groups – respectively, the Stone Salor and the Khorassan Salor.(54) According to my judgment Abul Ghazi, himself, must have orchestrated the early defeat of the Salor(55). The persecutory and destructive campaigns of this Khan, in the years 1644, 1646, 1651 and 1653, must have brought about the defeat of Salor supremacy(56).

Formerly smaller, and in relation to the Salor, somewhat unimportant tribes, like the Yomut, grew stronger in the 17th and 18th century and by then began to force the weakened Salor to the south.

Shah Murad, ruler of Bokhara from 1785 until 1800, attacked the leader of the Saryk, Bayram Ali-Khan in Chaharjui, west of Bokhara, forcing them to migrate to Merv in 1785. Once there the Saryk displaced the Salor, who in turn resettled in Yolatan. Throughout the 19th century, the Turkmen will use every opportunity to take advantage of the rivalry between Khiva, Bokhara and Persia. From 1822 until 1824, the remaining Salor formed an alliance with Tekke groups who lived east of Akhal and Taj. Together they attacked Bokhara, essentially allowing the Khan of Khiva, Mohammad Rahim Khan (1804 until 1826), to take Merv and rebuild it anew.

In unison they then defeated Rahim Kuli Khan (1826 until 1843) and sent their prisoners to the Khan of Bokhara.

Then, the Tekke leader Kushut Khan defeated Mohammed Amin Khan of Khiva (1843 until 1855), sending his severed head as a gift to the Persian court of Nasser al-Din Shah (1847 until 1896). This same Kushut Khan also defeated a Persian army in 1860 and sent a fifth of his loot (Khoms) to the Khan of Khiva, Seid Mohammad Tore (1856 until 1864).

During the years from 1857 until 1859, the Tekke fully establish their control over Merv and forced the Saryk to Jolatan, who in turn displaced the Salor, who moved into the Pandeh region south of Merv. Some years earlier, around 1831, the Salor suffered their greatest defeat when the Persian heir to the throne, Abbas Mirza, vanquished them in battle in the region of Sarakhs. The victor married a Salor woman and in doing so established a peace between the two tribes. However, the Salor clan never quite managed to rebuild itself to its former glory(57).

The Salor did not, on the contrary, entirely perish, continuing to inhabit the regions of Sarakhs, Merv, Maruchak and so on.

Murawiew’s table detailing Turkmen tribes, which was cited earlier, listed them as having about 4,000 dome tents. According to Karpov, a Russsian ethnographer, the Salor were divided into three Tayefeh:

  1. Kechi-Aga
    1. Kechi-Aga
      1. Bokash consisted of three Urug: Temjut, Musso (Musa), Sokash
      2. Jaji consisted of five Urug: Benej-Aga, Ismail, Khavs-Aga, Kheling, Khabas-Aga.
      3. Bakara (Bay-Kara) consisted of five Urug: Jusuf-Ali, Kulonchi, Ayna Gayschok, Sapilyar, Jangi
    2. Besh-Urug
      1. Chiki
      2. Basharja
      3. Jakub consisted of two Urug: Auyk, Aman
      4. Sayat consisted of two Urug: Dahanym, Odek-Bay
      5. Arslan consisted of five Urug: Oushi-Jele, Ibrahim Khowja, Isma, Bedem
  2. Karaman
    1. Karaman
      1. Bek Buluk consisted of four Urug: Sapollak, Kojek, Anna, Kolleker
      2. Ojuk consisted of five Urug: Inja Abdal, Kerler, Kaua-Jusyp, Baj-Lar, Kodjam basly, Geok (Gek).
      3. Okujukly consisted of five Urug: Chureler, Chepyler, Kushakly, Aravachi,
      4. Jedek consisted of 11 Urug: Chura, Odek-Baj, Alla-Dujeli, Shikh, Omar, Somvuk, Ajmaklyar, Lyujidlyar, PepleChi, Mamkyar, Jendyuar.
    2. Olam (Alan)
      1. Ishulum consisted of eleven Urug: Kysyl, Bashkhi, Kadybi, Baylar, Jele, Jurga, Maytak, Mullalar, Anna-Khuli, Barja, Keki.
      2. Djigam consisted of four Urug: Chokalyar, Esheklyar, Bajlyar, Goeklyar.
      3. Djigam consisted of seven Urug: Jakhruntshi, Ker-Durnok, Begyar, Sjut-Khorlyar, Kisyl.
  3. Jalovatsh
    1. This tribe consisted of three Tireh: Kesse, Kerim Aga, Habib
    2. Urdy Goja consisted of four Tireh: Geok Berik, Kultak, Ygen Seud, Kur.
    3. Orda Khod consisted of three Tireh: Jusuf, Urdy Khoja, Eram Berdy, Jusuf.
    4. Ber Sakar consisted of four Tireh: Bek, Sakar, Ajal, Yegenaji.
    5. Kesse consisted of three Tireh: Kesse, Ismail, Kara Auelita.
    6. Kerim Aga consisted of four Tireh: Shat Kary, Ker, Tekddas Kukursak, Kiri-Maga
    7. Kurt consisted of two Tireh: Kurt and Hebib.
    8. Yegri-Agir consisted of two Tireh: Kurt and Agri.
    9. Kyrk Ujli
    10. Urus(58)