present-day Afghanistan or Turkmenistan, Central Asia
Wool (warp, weft and pile), cotton (pile); symmetrically knotted pile
Rug: H. 76 1/2 in. (194.3 cm)
W. 54 in. (137.2 cm)
The James F. Ballard Collection, Gift of James F. Ballard, 1922
Not on view
Admired for their deep, rich hues and the strength of their design, the textile arts of the Turkmen weavers combine a stark, dramatic beauty with absolute functionality. The seasonal migrations of the Turkmen tribes require that their every possession—even their homes—be collapsible and portable. This large, knotted-pile textile, similar in most respects to a carpet, likely served instead to cover the entrance to a Turkmen tent. Such tent door hangings, called ensi, with their thick, densely knotted pile, not only protected the family from the outside elements, but also added further color and comfort to an interior living space already replete with soft carpets, cushions, and laden storage bags.
James F. Ballard, St. Louis, MO (until 1922; gifted to MMA)
Denny, Walter B. How to Read Islamic Carpets. New Haven and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 104, ill. fig. 90 (color).
Breck, Joseph, and Frances Morris. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art." In The James F. Ballard Collection of Oriental Rugs. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1923. no. 106, p. 53, ill. (b/w).
Dimand, Maurice S., and Jean Mailey. Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973. no. 186, pp. 288, 292, ill. fig. 247 (b/w).