Turkaman rugs are an age old favourite of the British consumer, with their deep colours and all over geometric designs, they can been found in many homes across the UK. Turkaman rugs where originally produced by the nomadic tribes of the Turkaministan region spanning across parts of modern day Persia, Russia and Afghanistan.
How to Identify A Turkaman Rug
Turkaman rugs are quite easy to identify. They are all geometric in design and feature one of 35 variations of a motif repeated in a block pattern across the field of the rug. One of the most known and popular designs is the elephant foot design (Pictured above). Examples of the 35 variations of the design can be seen below;
Materials Used in Turkaman Rugs
Traditionally Turkaman rugs where woven using only wool as the tribes people only had access to the materials immediately surrounding them. However since settling in various locations across the North East of Persia, Turkmenistan & Afghanistan in the late 19th century & early 20th century other materials have started to be used. Below is an image of a Persian Turkaman rug woven on a silk foundation with silk fringing.
The Different Types of Turkaman Rugs
With various regions of the Middle East weaving Turkaman rugs it can be confusing to the consumer to know where it was woven, so always seek an experts opinion when purchasing. With their ever present popularity, other parts of the world have also been producing rugs that feature Turkaman designs.
Below are some examples of the different types of Turkaman rugs;
Tekke Turkaman rugs are the rarest and highest quality of Turkaman rugs. Produced in the late 19th century and early 20th century very few still exist today. However if you were to look online you will find many good quality Turkaman rugs incorrectly called Tekke so they can be sold for a higher value.
Tekke rugs are no longer produced as the craft is extremely time consuming and the level of skill needed to do it is no longer possessed by the Turkaman people.
Turkaman rugs woven in Persia are to this day some of the finest Turkaman rugs to be found. The weavers have access to the highest quality materials Qurk Wool and Silk and they are re-known worldwide for their skill. The knotting used is of the traditional Persian knot leading to a great durability in the rug.
Persian Turkaman rugs are of course made from 100% natural materials & dyes.
Afghan Turkaman rugs are woven by the Turkaman tribes that settled in Afghanistan, they usually feature much deeper and darker colours and wools. They have a courser weave than Persian, Russian or Tekke Turkaman rugs so the quality is reflected by that.
Typically Afghan Turkaman rugs are made from 100% wool but there are occasions where they will be woven on a silk foundation.
Turkaman rugs were woven in what is modern day Russia. These rugs are usually around 90 years or older, they feature Persian knotting, making them far more durable and valuable rugs.
Turkaman rugs from Pakistan are not real Turkaman rugs, the weavers in Pakistan started copying the designs when they became popular. One of the most popular designs that they have copied is the elephant footprint design. Whilst featuring the same designs and similar materials to Turkaman rugs the knotting isn't as tight and the pile is left a lot longer.
Turkaman rugs from this region are not always made with 100% natural materials and this can lead to some rugs having exceptionally vibrant and bright colours that aren't achievable with natural dyes. This does however reduce the longevity and value of the rug.
- Tekke Turkaman rugs are extremely rare and not as readily available as the internet suggests so beware you may not be buying an original
- When buying Russian Turkaman rugs it is better to buy old pieces
- If buying a new Turkaman rug it is advisable to stick with Persian Turkaman rugs