Carpets from Turkmenistan


ARABACHI


This tribe was also not part of the original Turkmen clans. Abul Ghazi was the first one to refer to them when he mentioned their name in relation to the oft-quoted tribute payments collected by Sufiyan Khan (1525 until 1535). They must have been a fairly small tribe, as their part of the tribute was only 4,000 sheep with 400 additional ones given to the kitchen of the Khan of Urgents(113). Therefore, if 4,400 constituted one fortieth of their total herd, it must have been about 176,000 animals strong. But at that point in time, the Arabachi must have been more significant than either the Tekke, Saryk or the Yomut tribe, for they donated only a combined total of 8,800 animals.

But, however small those clans may have been, Abul Ghazi views them as sovereign tribes.

The Arabachi originally lived in the Mangyshlak area; the events we talked about drove them and many other tribes south.

We know little about this clan.

We do know Prof. Gernadi Markov, Lomonosov University, Moscow, conducted field studies among them from 1948 until 1950, or according to different sources, during the years of 1949, 1959 and 1955. He collected the oral reports of the elder Arabachi and postulated their travel from Mangyshlak to Khiva must have taken place under the rule of Mohammed Emin Khan (1845 until 1855)(115).

They also lived in Chaharjui and Deinau, along the central part of Amu Darya River in Bokhara territory(116). Markov goes on to report that the Arabachi see themselves as descendants of the Choudor but he believed this version of their genealogy had its origins in the 18th century when the Arabachi lived in Mangyshlak and were members of the Choudor alliance(117).

Obviously the Choudor alliance came into being after the Salor lost power and influence to secure transit payments from all those who passed Mangyshlak for trade. Everything suggests some divisions of the Arabachi living in the southern Afghanistan regions fell under the influence of the Ersari. Some of the weavings found in Afghanistan still bear the signature traits of the Arabachi tribe.

An actual definition of Arabachi characteristics was accomplished, by this author in 1970. Then, Prof. Dr. Genadi Markov told me about his expeditions to the Arabachi that lived along the Amu Darya, and sent me the black-and-white photographs he had taken of the weavings he found there. I compared these pictures with original Arabachi weavings available to us here in the west and analyzed those closely(118). Subsequently, I was able to establish combinations of traits and I went on to publish the results(118). I told Dr. Jon Thompson of these findings and he rushed to publish them in his translation of Bogolyubov1973(120) before I could explain them fully.

However he failed to attribute these characteristic traits to the Arabachi, either because he didnít trust the naming process I used or because he was uncertain, or both(121). To be fair, I should admit I made use of Thomsponís idea to attribute the Bogolyubov asmalyk(122) and Grothe-Hansen-Balgís ensi to the Arabachi because I had not yet discovered or recognized this link.

Looking at the arrangement of the Arabachi tribe, we only have Genadi Markov to rely on. He divided them not into Tayefeh (lower tribes), but Tireh (clans); he describes the structure of the tribe as follows(123):

Arabachi:

  1. Dedek
  2. Gogem
  3. Jemal
  4. Ak-Gulak
  5. Gulondji
  6. Yary
  7. Dangak
  8. Drdem
  9. Akcha
  10. Al Dory
  11. Ukorji
  12. Garlyk

Markov cites several sources of information that go on to list additional clans (Tireh): the Garlyk divide into the Ak-Garlyk, Kara-Garlyk and Suwcha; the Gulondji break down into the Dodek, Kyrman, Shaiburi and Khettar, and the Yary consist of the Koinnayak, Kisil Yary, Ak Yary and Uasa Yary clans(124).

    FOOTNOTES