Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Bukharan Beshir Turkmen

When one goes looking for carpets in Bukhara, one runs into endless numbers of Beshir carpets. Many of these carpets are of huge sizes, and they likely at one time laid on the floor of large rooms in the homes of wealthy merchants. Most of these larger rugs, which are also mostly in poor condition, have the five medallion design (large medallion in the center, and two smaller ones on each end). This one (which I just picked up), however, is quite a bit different. It is filled with what are usually the secondary guls in the five medallion design, but these guls are almost seamlessly attached to each other to make a crowded field:

My question is who are these "Beshir" Turkmen who seemed to make so many rugs for the inhabitants of Bukhara, and when was this done? My guess is that they must have lived nearby, perhaps in the Turkmenistan oasis of Mary (otherwise known as Merv). I also assume that most of these carpets were made at the turn of the century, anytime from the late 19th century into the 1920s. By the 1930s, however, one would assume that such displays of wealth as large Beshir carpets would have been greatly discouraged in Bukhara. Does anybody want to shed more light on who made these Beshir carpets? Were they in fact members of the Beshir Tribe among the Turkmen?


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Central Asian Textiles


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