Posted by R. John Howe on 09-25-2002 06:52 AM:

Odd Caravan Scene

Dear folks –

The black and white image below is a detail of a Turkmen tent band in mixed technique that is part of The Textile Museum collection.

It is 1 foot, 2 inches wide and 45 feet long. Published in Reed’s “Turkoman Rugs,” "the caravan scene depicted is most unusual." Fred has suggested that we need to beware of ambiguity and, it appears that we have it here.

What is this scene? One of the camels seems to have a “bridal litter” on its back and another has some sort of litter as well. There are two “leading?” ridden horses and other seeming camels but, the procession is not lined up. But most of all, what is the human figure standing between one of the camels and the lower horse? If this is a wedding procession, shouldn’t the bride be in the bridal litter? Is the standing figure the groom? If so, does he not appear to have long hair and a skirt? Is this an instance of sexual imagery or not?


R. John Howe

Posted by Yon Bard on 09-25-2002 09:53 AM:

John, here is a very similar scene from a Yomud tentband I own. In both cases it is clearly a bridal procession, the bride being ensconced in the tent-like structure ('kejebe') on top of the second camel. I couldn't say for sure exactly who the other participants are. I have shown this picture in a previous didcussion, noting the cute little upside down camel baby underneath the lead camel.

Regards, Yon