A good piece of tribal Turkoman rug such as this beautiful tent-entrance ornament Kapunuk AKA Gapylyk or Jallar Paidar is likened to a flower in an old- fashioned garden - gorgeous in itself, it will enhance its surroundings at the same time as blending with them. The bold rectilinear patterns complemented by subtle yet simple border motifs, well executed in good yarn dyed with harmonious colors, will look equally imposing and majestic in modern characterless but utilitarian concrete and glass edifices which dominate so many of today's Western towns and cities as it did in the traditional Turkoman yurts.
The format and size of the Kapunuk was designed to surround a door frame, providing an inner decorative entry to the standard circular Turkmen tent known in the West as a yurt. The term Jallar Paidar or Jollar Paidar (A 'Jallar with Feet' in the Afghan Turkoman lingo) refers to a П-shaped type of Kapunuk which was placed inside the yurt, hung from the lintel of the door frame over the doorway. The two feet, each one over one side of the doorway, usually had triangular pointed ends decorated with long multi-colored wool and silk tassels. Red and indigo wool fringes or alternating colorful braids were normally hung from the underside of the Jallar Paidar to 'welcome' the incoming visitors.
הקפונוק Kapunuk הידוע גם בשמו התורקמני גפיליק Gapylyk (המילה גפי בשפת השבטים התורקמנים מתאימה יותר למושג פתח doorway בעברית ולאו דוקא למושג דלת) היה אחד מ 'פריטי הריהוט' המיוחסים ביורט yurt התורקמני - אותו אוהל עגול ונייד שבו התגוררו הנוודים במרכז אסיה. הקפונוק נמתח ונקשר מעל משקוף הכניסה מצידו הפנימי של האוהל, וממנו השתלשלו צמות וציציות שעיטרו את שני צידי הפתח. כל תפקידו היה להאדיר ולהאציל את יופיו של חלל היורט ולהנעים את חויית ה 'בית' של שוכני האוהל.
בהיותו פריט מותרות אסתטי מובהק שלא שימש למטרות פונקציונאליות כגון אחסון או שינה, נחשב הקפונוק לשטיח עילית שבו הושקעו מירב המאמצים והכשרון של אמניות אריגת השטיחים התורקמניות, ולאחר שנתלה מעל לפתח האוהל היווה עדות לכשרונה ולמאוייה של האורגת. כל זאת כמובן בתחומי המסגרת של מסורת שבטית ארוכת שנים המכתיבה את מידותיו וסגנונו של קפונוק 'תקני' הראוי למשפחה בת שבט תורקמני מסויים.
שלפנינו נארג כפי הנראה על ידי בת שבט הארסרי Ersari מאיזור הגבול שבין צפון
אפגניסטאן לתורקסטאן בשלהי המאה ה-19. הוא יפה במיוחד, נדיר בעיצובו, בשילוב
צבעיו, בשילוב החדשני של המוטיבים המסורתיים שבו ובעיקר בעצמה, בנועזות האמנותית
וברוח החופש שהוא משרה.
The rare antique Kapunuk presented here was made by the Ersari Turkomans who lived in the region of the Middle Amu Darya (MAD) river in Northern Afghanistan, somewhere between Kunduz, Mazar and Aq Chah. Although for centuries Turkomans have been found in Afghanistan, most of the eight hundred thousand or so now living there, came as refugees from the Soviet Union in the early 1920s escaping the initial Bolshevik suppression of Soviet Turkestan, and the unpalatability of communism. These Turkomans settled in whatever land was available, poor and arid as most of it was, where they continued their traditional way of life - the men farming and rearing animals and the women engaged in domestic activities and weaving carpets.
Middle Amu Darya river - Turkoman settlements south to the border between Afghanistan and Soviet Turkestan.
The very fact that a specific Turkoman rug is a tribal one often makes it quite difficult to pin-point accurately the exact place where it was made and who were its makers. In the case of the nomads and transhumants, they were in different places according to the time of the year and seasonal climate conditions as well as local political circumstances. Where the Ersaris are concerned, most sub-clans of this Turkoman majority group still live in scattered settlements in the MAD area, often bearing the name of the clan which is numerically superior. The relatively structural organization of the sedentary Ersaris might have made the identification of the maker of this Kapunuk a bit clearer but Alas :), the high artistic skills and fine taste of the talented weaver who designed and wove this visually striking yurt doorway ornament have shuffled the cards. Our weaving lady have merged two traditional Ersari Curled Leaf and Ashik Gul motifs with a powerful Jagged Zig-Zag Yomut styled border and posed us a riddle as to where did she come from:
The horizontal field of the Kapunuk is an oblong rectangular ivory strip paved with stylized
devices of the Curled Leaf motif, organized in adjacent pairs - a black
curled leaf beside a brownish red one; the stems of the curled leafs are
inlayed with lustrous points of red, orange and deep indigo silk yarn. The
ivory strip is framed with a narrow border of delicate small
Boteh motif ornaments. Note that the right side of the rightmost red curled leaf gul in
the horizontal strip was omitted, probably in order to fit with the
standard yurt's doorway width size.
1. Pairs of Curled Leaf guls in the horizontal part of the Antique Ersari Kapunuk
Lustrous colored dots in the curled leafs' stems surrounded by a vivid minor border of Boteh creatures.
The design of curling serrated leafs is typical to the Ersari production of Kapunuks and also appears in the repertoire of the Saryk, Salor and Tekke tribes but, as far as I have seen, it usually comes in a 'two floor' layout which occupies the majority of the space of the horizontal part of the Kapunk. The brilliant weaver of the Kapunuk presented here chose an innovative approach within the Curled Leaf traditional design guidelines and reduced the height of the field by weaving a single 'one floor' line of curled leaf devices, thus gaining space for the dramatic jagged border we'll describe in section 3.
The field area of each of the two
flaps of the Kapunuk is comprised of a vertical strip with marvelous
richly colored Ashik Gul devices AKA "stepped medallion"
use of Ashik-based design is a common typical feature in Turkoman's Kapunuks
where it is frequently integrated with the Curled Leaf pattern. What is
so distinctive in the Ashik Guls in front of us is the beautifully
subtle unique decoration with glimmering miniature colorful dots in the
kernels of each of the Ashik Gul devices. It looks as if each of
these gems was individually designed, sizzled intensity with color like a precious piece of
2. Marvelous Ashik Guls in the vertical flaps of the Antique Ersari Kapunuk
Shimmering miniature dots of silk yarn in the kernel of each stepped medallion device.
The third element in the design of this rare Kapunuk is the main Jagged Zig-Zag border which symmetrically surrounds the horizontal and the vertical field strips described above. This serrated Yomut styled border actually occupies most of the area of the rug and is combined of an ivory jagged pattern with a powerful bright red zig-zag device and a darker traditional "ram's horns" motif. This well balance startling border conveys all the design features of a powerful dramatic and unique artistic weaving which makes this Kapunuk so distinctively amazing and, TMHO best expresses the innovative spirit of our unknown weaver.
3. Yomut Jagged Zig-Zag main border of the Antique Ersari Kapunuk
Bright orange silk dots inserted into the edges of the black ram's horns motif.
Of the Turkomans in Afghanistan and Turkestan, by far the greater majority were the Ersaries which made attractive and durable rugs, always double wefted, and with strong individual character like the innovative Kapunuk in front of us. The continuous change taken in the design and in composition of Kapunuks was due to several reasons, not least of which is fashion and the dictates of commercial interests. Another reason is the increasing readiness of the Ersaries to intermarry not only with Turkomans of other sub-clans within the tribe who brought with them some of their own individual motifs, but also with members of other tribes, notably the Yomut, Tekke and the Saruqs.
There is no doubt that the weaver of this Kapunuk brought with her a brand new and fresh artistic approach which was the outlet for her deep nonconformist and powerful personality. I invite you to have a zoom look at the lower part of the left flap and absorb the harmonious colorful festive.
The flap of the Antique Ersary Kapunuk with colorful long tassels
The left foot of the Ersari Jallar Paidar - a powerful festive of colors and design with various Turkomen motifs.
Notice that the crowded line of the bright Boteh creatures which populate the triangle pointed edge of the left flap of the Kapunuk was artistically needed in order to emphasize the sharpened shape of the Jallar Paidar foot. The lower line of Boteh elements on the right side was kept in darker colors since the jagged device of that side of the border is well balanced to form the needed arrow shape contour of the edge.
Antique Ersari Kapunuk - a look at the back of the rug
A knotted and piled antique Kapunuk with uncommonly good quality soft and silky wool.
In a tribal production such as found in Afghanistan where yarn is hand spun, the knot count of any given piece should never be equated with quality. The combination of color, design and material is far more important than the number of knots in a given area. This does not mean that the standard of knotting is unimportant, for obviously the regularity and tightness, or density, of the fabric are important factors, but one cannot ignore the fact that at the end of the day it is the yarn count of the wrap, weft and pile which, to a large extent predetermines the knot count.
Width of Lintel: 3' 9.3" - 115 cm - 45.3 in
Length of Foot (without tassels): 1' 7.7" - 50 cm - 19.7 in
Width of Foot: 9.8" - 25 cm - 9.8 in
Face thickness: 8 mm approx
Origin: Tribal groups of Northern Afghan - Ersari
Weaving technique: Knotted and piled hand weaving
Age: more than 100 years old (late 19th or early 20th century).
Item: R1009/15 - Antique Ersari Kapunuk