TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Mugul Andrews Article, Part 2
Author  :  R. John Howe
Date  :  02-24-2000 on 07:35 a.m.
Dear folks - In the second half of her 1996 ICOC presentation to which I referred above Mugul Andrews presents a broader discussion of Turkmen wedding tradition in widely separated Turkic societies. First, she says, "It is, of course, the transition from one phase of the bride's life to another that is being celebrated, but also protected and made as auspicious as possible...Textiles have a special role, then in Turkic wedding customs, representing that tradition." She then gives some examples and describes the wedding traditions among "the Qazaq (ed. West Mongolia), the Nogay (ed. Daghistan in the Caucasus) and from my own country, Turkey (ed. the Alevi Turkmen in the Bergama area)...what I want to emphasise with the examples I give is the common attitude that underlies teh use of these textiles among all Turkic poeples, to show that the (ed. wedding) carpet is not, in fact, exceptional. Ms. Andrews describes a number of wedding related textiles. For example, for the Qazaqs she lists the bride's veil, an embroidered saddle cloth,a curtain held in front of her when she has dismounted and is walking towards the wedding tent and the felt she sit on once inside. She gives particular prominence in each of these three descriptions to the curtain-like cloth. She says that the Qazaq curtain is about 6'6"X5'0," has a silk field and a velvet or wool border all round in a contrasting color. The field is a "lively" color and often has applique added. At the top are loops through which a decorative plaited rope is passed. Such screens are used in the wedding ceromonies of all three of these Turkic societies. The curtain is used to screen the bride while she is riding on the camel (or nowadays in the truck), again to screen her as she walks to the tent, and once inside the tent, it serves as the screen behind which she sits and stays during her initial period in her new home (often a year). Among the Turkmen of Turkey, she says that a similar screening cloth, an orange kilim, has continuing importance throughout a bride's life. "...it would remain on top of her clothing sacks. When going to summer pastures she would drape it over her property as an ornament, and when she or her husband died it would be draped over the coffin. At no time would it be spread on the ground or used for any other purpose than these." It is interesting that, despite the apparent importance of these wedding "screens," they seem not to attract collecting attention, perhaps because, as with the "wedding rugs," they are difficult to identify. One other reason might be that Andrews' description of some of them suggests that they are often not particularly attractive. Their central function may be to screen rather than to decorate. Regards, R. John Howe

Powered by UltraBoard 2000 <http://www.ub2k.com/>