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Khorjin - what is the right way to spell the word?


Chuval Gol or Juval Gul?

My love story with Turkmen rugs is a classic one. The rich and warm colors, the beautiful abstract geometrical patterns, the designs and motifs which reflect the presence of the vivid yet practical nomad culture behind them, the multi-layered sophisticated weaving techniques,... with all of this, it is of no surprise that our roman is full of passion and desire.

At some point of every romantic melodrama the good souls whose duty is to look ahead and warn the heroes against all kinds of difficulties come on stage with their readymade replicas: "this great happiness is bound to find its end because the lovers have different cultural backgrounds" is a recurrent motif. In my oriental rugs love story, such an argument looked at first completely ridiculous. Of course, I said to myself, I am not going to pretend that I was born on a back of a camel in the middle of the road from Herat to Kandahar, but, cultural differences? Hey, isn't it the key to the charm Turkmen rugs exert on me??

Yet these good souls, old aunties, unfortunately, had a point. A small cloud did appear in the sky. Difficulties did arise when I started reading the Turkmen rug's text books and visiting the oriental rugs collectors' sites and forums, trying to learn the terminology and nomenclature of this world. At the beginning I thought that it is just the usual hard time of pronouncing names and words that come from languages I am not familiar with, but then I discovered that it was more than that. There are real ambiguities. For example: the long pillow which is part of the Turkmen's bedding - some people call it Bolesht others call it Balisht while others call it Pushti ... this is no laughing matter - I mean, how can you courtship a lady if you are not certain what is the correct way to pronounce her name, or even worse than that, what is her name?

Well, I was educated that expressing frustration is not adequate if you do not do something about it, so I decided to collect and publish in this dedicated page, any piece of information which is relevant to the nomenclature of Turkmen rugs. I hope that this source will help you putting order into the linguistic chaos and will give you some alternate names when you are looking for more information about Turkmen oriental rugs.

Have a question or comment? - Call

I invite all oriental rug lovers to send me their remarks, comments, highlight of nuisances and references and I promise to publish all relevant material/links which will be beneficial the community of Turkmen rug collectors worldwide and reduce the level of nomenclature confusion.


Turkmen Rugs - Terminology, Transcription, Pronunciation, Spelling and Nomenclature

מהמעט שקראתי, החיים בטורקמניסטן נראו לי תמיד בלאגן לא קטן. עמים נודדים, אימפריות כובשות, מלחמות בין שבטיות אין סופיות - ובתוך כל זה, יופי מדהים ושפע פורץ של אמנות אלמונית חוצת גבולות. אמנות אריגת השטיחים של שבטי הנוודים בטורקמניסטן נתגלתה לעולם המערבי בתחילת המאה העשרים בתקופה שבה היה האיזור נתון לשליטת ברית המועצות הסובייטית. הספרות המחקרית שהתפרסמה אז על חייהם ויצירות האמנות של השבטים הטורקמנים הייתה ברובה ברוסית, והחוקרים המערביים, שהשלטון הסובייטי הקשה עליהם את הכניסה לטורקמניסטן, נאלצו לבסס את עבודותיהם על הטרמינולוגיה והתיאורים של המקורות הרוסיים. הוסיפו לזה את שפע הדיאלקטים המקומיים, תנאי השטח, הפיצול, רב התרבותיות והמעורבות הגדולה של סוחרי השטיחים במרכזים העירוניים בפרס ובאפגניסטן ותקבלו, בליל שפות, שמות ומושגים קשה לעיכול. החלטתי לרכז בדף זה מעט מן הדיעות הנשמעות בחוגי אספני השטיחים הטורקמנים בקשר לשמות, הגייתם והתעתיקים שלהם לאנגלית. כל מי שיכול להאיר את עיננו בנושא זה מוזמן לכתוב לי ואפרסם הערותיו כאן.

The "Keep it Simple" approach

Henry Sadovsky - a Baluch collector and a veteran member of the Turkotek salon is trying (in a post on 06-05-2003) to give simple names to the plethora of Turkmen bags. To his opinion there are two common obstacles: 1. using words in languages which are unfamiliar to most Turkmen rugs collectors 2. Using names in English which are based on what the bags contained or where they were used in situ.

"...As there seems to be disagreement over what the people in the area of where these things are found call them, perhaps we should make no assumptions and simply call:

A Pannier Bag instead of Khorjin?

A Long Bag instead of Balisht?

Henry Sadovsky ends his recommendations with the following optimistic vision:

"...However, if a field is to advance, clarity and consistency are essential. Anything short of that invites confusion, miscommunication, and the ignoring of what we think we have learned by the following generation."

I vote for Henry.


The "Let's Do It Right" approach

A totally different approach is presented by Seyitguly Batyrov a veteran rugs and carpets dealer from Turkmenistan who is emphasizing the correct meaning, spelling and pronunciation of the words which are used by the Turkmen for calling their rugs, bags and other types of textile daily items and trappings:

Chuval instead of Juval?

A Khorjun instead of Khorjin?

Seyitguly has also some important corrections and notes regarding the spelling and pronunciation of the names of the
Turkmen main tribes as follows:

I also vote for Seyitguly.

Antique Ersari Kapunuk - a genuine Jallar Paidar


Typical Types of Baluch Rugs (based on Pile Rugs of The Baluch and Their Neighbors by Dr. Dietrich H. G. Wegner - measures are given in cm):

Antique Baluch Khorjin - a Complete Pair of Saddle Bags


A Call for Standard Terminology - Yaser Al Saghrjie
Pile Rugs of The Baluch and Their Neighbors - Dr. Dietrich H. G. Wegner
The Baluch Rugs Weaving - Origin & Weaving Culture

Antique Baluch Khorjin - a Donkey Saddle Bag
Antique Baluch Khorjin - a Complete Pair of big Saddle Bags
Antique Baluch Bolesht (Balisht) - a Baluch Pillow Bag
Antique Turkmen Tent Bag - a Yomud Chuval
Antique Turkmen Saryk Khorjin - an Intact Pair of Saddle Bags
Antique Ersari Kapunuk - a genuine Jallar Paidar
Antique Afghan Carpet - the Ersari Turkmen of Northern Afghanistan


Dan Levy - Art Pane Home of Oriental Carpets and Rugs

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