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Antique Turkmen Saryk Khorjin - an Intact Pair of Antique Saddle Bags


This complete and intact Saryk Khorjin is beautiful. It is also interesting for the assortment of patterns, materials and weaving techniques with which it was constructed and which give it an exceptional vivid stripes design and fashionable look - wool, cotton, highlights of silk and camel hair, pile weaving and flat weaving, traditional motifs and patterns together with innovative combinations of colors and textures and above all - a striking expression of harmony and passion.

I wonder whether the lady artist who planed and wove this beautiful pair of relatively small size saddle bags, had ever wanted them to be laid on a donkey's back and be filled with vegetables and grocery stuff. Her talented weaving skills and sophisticated sense for esthetics invite me to fantasize that her secret desire was that this Khorjin will escape the destiny of a working sack and will be carefully kept aside for festive events in the "vault" of a rich Turkmen mistress with great chic. To my opinion, this is exactly what happened. 

מה אני יכול לדעת על חלומותיה של אורגת שטיחים טורקמנית בת שבט הסריק (Saryk) בשלהי המאה ה-19? מה היה הקשר בינה לבין שק הנוודים - החורג'ין (Khorjin) המושלם הזה, ואיך ביטאו הדגמים והצבעים שבחרה את עולם רגשותיה?

כאשר אתה חי כחלק משבט נוודים מבודד בערבות טורקמניסטן, כל פריט אריגה שאתה טווה הופך להיות ביטוי ישיר של זהותך האישית - ולמעשה, בחברה סגורה ושמרנית כזו, השטיחים היפיפיים האלו היו הדרך היחידה של נשים להציג את עצמן לעולם. הקלילות והשיק ההרמוני של האוכף שהוא גם סל מטען המיועד לכסות את גבו של חמור, מגיעים מנפש האמנית שארגה אותו ואולי דמיינה לעצמה חיים בעולם קל יותר שבו מותר, סתם ככה, לארוג דברים יפים ולא רק לחשוב בצורה פראקטית על השימושיות של התיק הזה בזמן מסע הנדודים הבא.

The Face of Antique Saryk Khorjin Saddle Bag - Click to Zoom

Antique Saryk Khorjin Central Asia Nomad Rugs - The Face of Antique Saryk Khorjin Saddle Bag

Antique Turkmen Saryk Khorjin - the back side of an Intact Pair of Saddle Bags

The Saryk (Saruk) was one of the important nomad Turkmen tribes (together with the Salor, Tekke, Ersari and the Yomut) which fought with each other for dominating  the central south and east area of Turkmenistan at the late 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century.  As all Turkmen tribes, the nomadic Saryk maintained an excelling weaving culture for hundreds of years, verbally stored and transmitted from one generation of weavers to the next through chants which coded the vital parts of the rugs and trappings design. The following study by George W. O'Bannon of the Saryk weaving methods and color approach describes the techniques and color palettes used by the Saryks in producing their main carpets, and since the bags that they wove were done in the same techniques as their larger rugs, this article can help a lot in understanding the structure and the color themes of this Saryk Khorjin.


Antique Turkmen Saryk Khorjin - an Intact Pair of Saddle Bags

The lustrous beautiful Chemle and Kejebe designs in the lower skirt part of the Saryk Khorjin bag face


The pseudo Kufic symbols in the Peikan motif

The Peikam motif AKA Peikan border - reminiscent of Kufic calligraphy

The Peikam motif AKA Peikan border (Peikan is the ancient Persian word for arrow) is a quite complicated traditional pattern which appears in old Salor and Tekke rugs and was probably adopted by the Saryk after they were defeated by the Tekke - the rivalry among the tribes was sometimes an important stimulator for cultural exchange :-). 


Peikam border in Antique Turkmen Saryk Khorjin

A strip with the Peikam arrow motif - Saryk Khorjin

The blue highlights in the Khorjin's stripes (for example in the background of the first from the right cross symbol in the Peikan motif above), form interesting points of color which express, to my humble opinion, the intelligent skills of the artist of this rug who wished to convey definite massages in her weaving. She made a conscious decision to put these highlights in the right places and I am sure she knew why.

Note 1: Uwe Jourdan, Oriental Rugs: Volume 5 - Turkoman (1989 Example no 36 page 91) attributes a very similar rug to be a Saryk Khorjin from the end of the 19th century. In this reference Jourdan presents a Saryk double saddle-bags with several different patterns including the Chemle, Aineh and Kejebe designs. The type of Khorjin shown here is quite striking since the front panels have a mixture of pile and uncolored flat-woven strips.


Antique Turkmen Saryk Khorjin - Back to Carpets & Rugs

Size: 3' 3.4" x  1' 7.3"  -  100 cm x 49 cm  -  39.4 in x 19.3 in
Warp: Wool
Face thickness: 6 mm approx
Pile: Wool, Cotton & Silk
Origin: Tribal groups of Afghan and Iran - Saryk
Weaving technique: Combined knotted and piled and Kilim flat hand weaving
Age: more than 100 years old (late 19th or early 20th century).

Price: Click for Price of Antique Turkmen Saryk Khorjin in Art Pane shop

Saryk Khorjin from the end of the 19th century - Uwe Jourdan, Oriental Rugs: Volume 5 - Turkoman (1989) Example no 36 page 91.
Turkmen Rugs - Terminology, Transcription, Pronunciation, Spelling and Nomenclature

Item: R1005/19 - Antique Turkmen Saryk Khorjin

Dan Levy - Art Pane Home of Oriental Carpets and Rugs

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