Richard Wright's research
report on the subject is probably the best account of what we know about
how ensis were used and, especially, what the bases of that knowledge are.
a link to his article. He points out that at
least until the late 19th century, Turkmen didn't practice the traditional
form of Islam: they built no mosques, did not perform ablutions, and
didn't use prayer rugs.
It's not clear how the belief that ensis
were prayer rugs came about, although you don't have to travel very far
into the past to find fairly wide acceptance of the notion that any rug
with an arched form at one (or both!) ends was woven for Muslim prayer. My
guess is that this is the route through which ensis came to be called
There is historical evidence for Suni interaction with
Turkmen, most likely including some influence, as Louis points out in his
essay. As Louis also emphasizes, whether that influence included affecting
the motifs on ensis is a matter of conjecture, but it is plausible that it
We also ran a Salon on ensis about 7 years ago. It's also a
good source of information, but doesn't deal with Louis' main topic, the
origin and meaning of the kush
motif. A link to that Salon is here.