TurkoTek Discussion Forums

The introductory essays for Archived Salons can be accessed by clicking on those words, or you can return to the Turkotek Home Page. Our forums are easy to use, and you can get HELP or you can SEARCH the Discussion Boards. Please enter your full name (name by which you are usually addressed plus your last name) in the field labeled "NickName". Anonymous posting, ad hominem remarks, comments bearing on the value of any item currently on the market or on the reputation of any seller are not permitted.

TurkoTek Discussion Boards
Index / Archived Salon Discussions / Salon 36: The Turkmen Wedding. by Stephen Louw
author message
Turkoman weddings (read 25 times)
Post a new topic Reply to this Topic Printable Version of this Topic Topic Commands (for administrator or moderators only)
Yon Bard
1. Turkoman weddings
Reply to this topic with quote Modify your message
Stephen,a couple of questions and comments raised by your introduction to this interesting (though largely speculative) topic: 1. Do you have any reason to doubt the use of the kapunuk as a tent-door surround? I haven't been around camels a lot, but it seeems to me that both in size and shape the kapunuk does not seem terribly suitable as a camel decoration. 2. There is the question of brides producing their best weavings for dowry pieces to impress the groom (or, more likely, his mother). I have been thinking that, on the contrary, the brides were rather young girls with as yet little weaving experience. Perhaps this is why pieces such as kapunuks and asmalyks are often very sloppily woven? I think there is no pattern more generally mutilated than the ashik grid on asmalyks. Finally, I'd like to bring up the actual illustrations of the wedding caravans that have been woven into some (presumably) dowry pieces (or, perhaps, they are produced later, by the equivalent of the wedding photographer?). The asmalyks with wedding caravans are well known, but here is a particularly charming example from a Yomud tent band sold at Sotheby's NY, 4/13/95, lot 17. Note that the lead camel (not the one with the kejebe!) has a rectangular decoration on its flank. The cutest element in the picture is the little upside-down camel that seems to be falling out of the lead camel. Any ideas what this may signify? Fertility for the bride, perhaps? Regards, Yon
Date: 02-13-2000 on 10:18 a.m.
2. RE:Turkoman weddings
Reply to this topic with quote Modify your message
Thanks for your comments Yon. I agree that the subject matter is largely speculative, although I think that it is possible to make a few reasonably convincing hypotheses about the purpose and possible function of wedding-related weavings. In answer to each of your questions: 1) Personally, I suspect that kapunuks had nothing at all to do with the actual wedding ceremony, and believe that they are indeed likely to have served simply as door surrounds, although probably for special occasions rather than day to day use. Many kapunuks, including the Ersari piece illustrated here, have tears on the insides of each arm, which is consistent with this usage. I simply referred to Moskova's intriguing comments (discussed in Mackie/Thompson, Turkmen, pp.112-13) that khalyk’s were used to decorate the front of a camel, their tassels reaching down to the animals feet. As a khalyk cannot reach this far, this has caused some speculation that Moskova referred here to what we call a kapunuk. This would indeed be consistent with a camel decoration, wrapping around the front with each arm hanging down the side of each front leg. As I said, I doubt this explanation myself, although I think it is likely (and here I am simply speculating) that weavings like kapunuks would be used for a variety of special occasions, of which the wedding festival is one. This of course is akin to "Westerners" taking out their best silver for analogous events, and can hardly be seen as an integral component of a wedding. 2) Personally, I agree completely that the idea that young girls made their best pieces to impress the groom and his family is complicated by the age of the girl. I do not know of any figures for Central Asia, but following Helfgott’s study of Iran, the girls in question would have been in their early teens and certainly under eighteen in most cases. They are thus hardly likely to produce masterpieces like the Saryk kapunuk illustrated. I do however think that that there is a lot in the argument that, with the growing commercialisation of Turkmen society, the ability to weave was an important economic asset, which a girl’s family would be eager to demonstrate. 3) Finally, the upside-down camel falling out of the lead camel on the tent band which you illustrate is without doubt the cutest “story” I have ever seen on any weaving. In the context, it would not be a stretch to link it to fertility. Thanks very much for sharing it with us. Regards Stephen
Date: 02-13-2000 on 06:23 p.m.
Marvin Amstey
3. RE:Turkoman weddings
Reply to this topic with quote Modify your message
mamstey1@rochester.rr.com Not just fertility; the camel gave birth during the trek - slowing the procession and presumably the wedding! If the camel was part of the dowry, the groom may have lost a possession since the camel was no longer pregnant when it arrived. This is an obstetrician viewpoint. On a more serious note: there is references in some literature and comment from some dealers (M. Francis comes to mind) that camel hangings, "asmalyks", were also rectangular. In particualar, the large rectangular Tekke embroideries were called "asmalyks". Regards, Marvin
Date: 02-14-2000 on 09:01 a.m.
Jerry Silverman
4. RE:Turkoman weddings
Reply to this topic with quote Modify your message
For those with access to it, I recommend "Caravans to Tartary" by Roland and Sabrina Michaud, Thames and Hudson, 1985, paperback. It is a book in the tradition of the travel literature of the Victorian era - but with color photos. In it there is a frustratingly brief description of a modern Turkmen wedding which seems not to have changed much since the 100-year earlier ones being discussed here. There are pictures of a wedding party and a bride in her kejebe on a camel. The rugs and bags on the camel are all modern production. No asmalyks or khalyks...just torbas and chuvals of the kind we're used to seeing from pre-1980 Afghanistan. -Jerry-
Date: 02-15-2000 on 03:59 a.m.
Turkoman weddings
Post a new topic Reply to this Topic Printable Version of this Topic Topic Commands (for administrator or moderators only)
All times are EST. < Prev. | P. 1 | Next >
Go to:

Powered by UltraBoard 2000 Standard Edition,
Copyright © UltraScripts.com, Inc. 1999-2000.