Tent Door Hanging (Ensi)

Object Name: Tent door hanging

Date: first half 19th century

Geography: Attributed to present-day Afghanistan or Turkmenistan, Central Asia

Medium: Wool (warp, weft and pile), cotton (pile); symmetrically knotted pile

Dimensions: Rug: H. 76 1/2 in. (194.3 cm)
W. 54 in. (137.2 cm)

Classification: Textiles-Rugs

Credit Line: The James F. Ballard Collection, Gift of James F. Ballard, 1922

Accession Number: 22.100.42


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.