The Turkoman are a tribe of people, once nomadic but now largely settled, who inhabit the area of the Trans Caspian steppes all the way across to the edge of the Afghan Pamir mountains. The weavings are amongst the finest and most collectable and are geometric in design, with a simple colour palette of reds, midnight blue and natural undyed cream. The repeating geometric designs are made up of rows of tribal ‘guls’ or shields which readily identify which subset of the tribe they come from – possibly useful in the days when a visitor to an encampment could instantly tell if he would be welcome or not.
They look like obvious rugs but are more complicated than initial sight with a deceptive simplicity given by few colours. Handmade wool Turkoman rugs are visually warm and quite masculine and in my experience work brilliantly in dining rooms where the expanses of deep colours hide spillages and stains.
This rug is unusual in having a cream centre which has not been stained by the adjoining red dyes. The design is highly traditional but rounded and fluid, giving a more abstract modern feel. It has a wool pile a silk warp and weft which has allowed for a very much smaller designer knot count than cotton or wool would give.