Central Asia, present-day Afghanistan or Turkmenistan
Wool (warp, weft, and pile), cotton (pile); asymmetrically knotted pile
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 (22.100.42)
Admired for their deep, rich hues and the strength of their design, the textile arts of the Turkoman weavers combine a stark, dramatic beauty with absolute functionality. The seasonal migrations of the Turkoman tribes require that their every possessioneven their homesbe collapsible and portable. This large, knotted-pile textile, for example, while similar in most respects to a carpet, likely served instead to cover the entrance to a Turkoman tent. Such tent door hangings, or 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.