Page 1-Contents - Page 2-Introduction - Page 3-Layout - Page 4-Macro Views
(Actual text from the cd-rom, but images do not appear in the introduction)

Why is it that most carpet collectors in the West focus on smaller Turkmen weavings rather than larger main carpets? This surely is not a matter of the weavers’s original valuation since the Turkmen always prized their carpets more highly than their other weavings. In as much as bags and trappings were produced in every nomadic household for utilitarian use and had no signifi-
cant function in urban settings, main carpets were an effective means of transforming the raw material from the family flocks into cash. Moreover, main carpets are most likely the oldest examples of Turkmen weaving extant since bags were used on a daily basis for storage and transport, whereas main carpets were treasured items brought out only on special occasions.

Created within a rigid societal tradition in which tribal motifs had to be preserved, carpets display totemic Turkmen guls in their entirety, unabbreviated and undistorted. Main carpets were the only format in which weavers engaged in a sustained display of conception and execution that permitted the artisan to show her individuality and stylistic expression through the variation of minor guls, tertiary ornaments, borders and colours to produce objects of great aesthetic value. Thus the formal patterns of main carpets not only convey a language of tribal identity, but reveal as well the unique signature of each weaver’s hand. Both this catalogue and exhibit are an attempt to foster a greater knowledge and understanding of the Turkmen main carpet with the hope that Western collectors will come to appreciate these weavings as much as the Turkmen did.

From here, the presention continues, encompassing a vast array of priceless works of art, gems conceived in the minds of the Turkmen women and realized on the rustic looms in the yurts complete with detailed structural analysis, comparative commentary on design and speculation on provenance and period.

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