Main carpet (halı)

Detail of carpet

The nomadic lifestyle of Turkmen people has always been at odds with that of the urban populations of Central Asia. Even though Turkmen nomads had been gradually settling over the centuries to become farmers, the end of nomadism for the Turkmen came rather suddenly after fifty years of continuous Russian encroachment, which had begun in 1834. They were forced to settle and engage in cotton farming during the Soviet era. 

In traditional nomadic society all weaving was undertaken by women and by the time of her marriage, a girl would have become a proficient weaver and would have woven principle furnishings, such as this large carpet, for the tent she would share with her husband. The settlement of nomads brought changes in the Turkmen people’s lifestyle. Turkmen women ceased to weave everyday items such as this carpet for their own families.