Guide to Salyr/Salor Turkmen Rugs & Carpets

Background /  History
Salor is the western trade name for the Salyr. The Salyr are one of the original tribes of the Ohguz confederation.

The Salor were one of the most powerful of the Turkmen tribes. They remained an independent people until around the middle of the 19th century, when they were taken over by the Saryk and Tekke. For a historical discussion of the Salor see Tzareva, E, Salor Carpets, Hali, Vol.6, No.2, pp.126-133.

South of Panjdeh, and before the junction of the Khushk and Murghab, is the beat of the “Salor," a Turkmen tribe, which Vambery calls the oldest recorded in history. He gives them 8,000 tents, and a reputation for bravery. On Journeys Between Herat, and Khiva by Goldsmid Page 18

Sarik. The clan, which in happier days possessed Merv, has been ousted from its post of vantage on the Murghab, and compelled to seek in the country to the south that sanctuary which the superiority of the Tekes obliged it to discover. Its head-quarters are now round Martshag or Merutshag; but it is highly improbable that this clan still possesses anything like the forty thousand persons which Professor Vambery estimated it to number. It is possible that the Salor have recognised the necessity of war and have become subservient to the domineering Tekes. The Turkmen by Demetrius Charles Boulger Part 4

Rug Composition
S-Group refers to a structurally distinct group of Turkmen weaving which are often attributed to the Salyr.

The S - Group argument stems back to the Thompson translation of the Bogolyubov book on Turkmen rugs.

Not everyone agrees that there is a one to one correlation between S-Group and Salyr see Peter E. Saunders, Tribal Visions

It is the early examples of Salor weaving, prior to the appropriation by the Saryk and Tekke, which are considered to be amongst the most skilfully woven and beautiful of all Turkoman rugs. The Salor chuval offered here has all the typical qualities associated with early production. Technically, it has characteristic ivory warps and brown wefts. It has asymmetric knots open to the left and uses a lustrous wool with delicate touches of silk highlights, limited to the leaves of the lower partial guls. It has been painstakingly crafted and has a perfectly balanced design. Both the wonderfully crisp drawing and the rich colouring add to its timeless beauty.


S-Group rug closeup
S-Group Characteristics are:

Warps: 2ZS, ivory, browns or a brown- gray combination

Warp Colors: ivory, brown or a brown- gray

Weft: 2 shoots Z2S wool. First weft rigid second weft sinuous.

Weft Colors: red, brown or a brown- gray

Knot: Asymmetric open left, 125 – 300 knots per square inch.

Pile: wool - 2Z but 1Z, 2ZS, 3Z and 4Z, as well as silk is less often used 2Z, 3Z, 4Z, and 5Z

Sides: 2 cords of 2ZS, two cord blue or dark green wrapped or checkerboard.

The golden age of Salor weaving is considered by many to end circa 1825. The way some people describe it one might imagine that all the Salor died that year or at least stopped weaving. It is a touch more complicated. Many of today's Tekke and Saryk are descended from people who could once be properly described as Salor. Salor weave is generally open left and Tekke weave is open right. The Salor Kapunuk directly above is one of 5 known. The Salor Kapunuk above is open left but two of he 5 are open right. So when we go looking for Salor we can look to the tribes that made up the Salor confederation, the Salor, Tekke, Saryk, and the Arabatchi. The Salor trapping to the left is typical of the Salor pieces from the late 19th and early 20th century.

The Salar of China

"Reinhard F. Hahn says Salar is spoken by descendants of an Oghuz-Turkic-speaking sub-tribe that, in the 15th century area of Samarkand, split off a main tribe and 'returned eastward', eventually settling in Western China. Their language has an Oghuz Turkic base, has taken on a medieval Chaghatay Turkic stratum through Central Asian contacts and finally acquired a stratum of features from local languages. The people use Chinese as literary language. Bilingualism is reported high in Chinese, Uyghur, and Tibetan. An official nationality. SOV. Literacy rate in second language: 27%. Agriculturalists, animal husbandry, commerce. Sunni Muslim." 

Examples:

Salor (S-Group) Ensi Group 2 circa 1800
Salor (S-Group) Ensi Group 2 circa 1800
Salor Ensi, Turkestan late eighteenth - early nineteenth century circa 1800.

Warp: wool, Z2S, ivory tightly twisted, depressed.

Weft: wool, 2Z two strands lightly plied reddish-brown, two shoots.

Pile: wool and silk (pink), 2Z strands asymmetrical knot open to the left.

Density: 13-14H, 16V.

Sides: not original.

Ends: not original.

Size: Approximately 6 ft. 1 in. by 4 ft. 2 in. (1.86 m. by 01.27 m.)

Colors: brick red, dark blue, wine red, ivory, apricot orange, brown-black, yellow, pink (silk), dark blue green mid-blue, brown.

George Washington O'Bannon used this piece to delineate what he called Group 2 in an article in Oriental Rug Review 10-1 pages 6-7.. This group is larger and uses a more brownish shade of red. Group 1 uses a double curled leaf main border one on red and the other on white. Group two uses a curled leaf inner guard border but uses an octagon star main border. This octagon star border is similar to one common in old Tekke main carpets. In the Group 2 he placed this and a similar Ensi from the Dr. Jon Thompson collection published in Carpet Magic.

The late George Washington O'Bannon discussed this rug in Oriental Rug Review 10-1 pages 6-7. He suggests breaking Salor Ensis into two groups of which he puts this rug into the second group. Even after 14 years the article stands on its own merits and is worth a read.



Salor Turret Gul Chuval
Salor Turret Gul Chuval

Lot 30, a Salor chuval (2) from the first half 19th century is an excellent example of an early Salor turret-gul chuval. The knot is asymmetric open left. The square shape of the turret guls suggests an early age. The knot ration is V/H cm 6/6, which is a balanced weave. Earlier pieces tend to be taller than they are wide while later pieces flatten out and are wider then they are tall.

Sotheby's compares this to the Arthur D. Jenkins chuval (Mackie & Dr. Jon Thompson, plate 8). The Mackie & Thompson turret gul chuval has guls that are slightly taller than they are wide and the knot ratio is 15 H 17 V to the inch. The gul spacing in the Mackie & Thompson piece is also slightly more generous suggesting that lot on offer may be a little later than the Jenkins chuval. The guls in the Sotheby's Olympia piece are very similar in proportions and execution to the gul in the Thompson sale Salor tent bag (chuval) (SNY 12/16/93, lot 60). Both this bag and the Thompson sale chuval have the small intersticial white diamonds bifurcating the turrets. It is interesting to note that the offered lot lacks the interior small intersticial white diamonds bifurcating the turrets while the Thompson sale chuval has them on the interior and exterior turrets. The Arthur D. Jenkins chuval lacks them entirely.

Consider as well the more elaborate minor guls. The offered piece has a rams horn device on the dark squares of the minor gul, which is altogether entirely lacking in the other two discussed. It suggests to me that, while the Jenkins chuval is a wonderful old piece, this chuval may have had the more sophisticated weaver. The alem skirt is similar to that of the Thompson sale Salor Tent Bag.


DESCRIPTION
This lot contains 1 item(s).

Technical Analysis:

Warp: Wool, ivory, Z2S

Weft: 1. wool, ivory, Z2S; 2. wool, ivory with a few dark brown hairs, Z2S; 3. wool, dark brown, Z2S; 4. wool, dark brown, dyed red, in a small area of the lower part of the chuval

Pile: Wool, Z2, Z3, Z4; silk: Z3, Z2

V/Hcm: 6/6

Sidecords: Wool, 3 warps overcast in madder-red

Ends: Upper end- magenta and ivory kilim hemmed and sewn

Lower end- ivory kilim, hemmed and sewn

Colours: Dark madder-red, light madder-red, aubergine, magenta, light magenta, ivory, yellow, dark indigo, medium indigo, light indigo, sea-green, charcoal, walnut, purple


(S-Group) Main Carpet Mid 19th Century
(S-Group) Main Carpet Mid 19th Century
Rare Antique Salor Carpet, Turkestan, Mid 19th Century. The red field containing six rows of twelve Afghan guls flanked by octagonal minor guls all within a Holbein variation border, silk highlights, fold cut, damaged areas. Approximately 10 feet 3 inches (3.13 m.) x 7feet 10 inches (2.39 m.)

close up of rug



Salor Memling Gul Torba from Nagel
Salor Memling Gul Torba from Nagel


Salor Turret Gul Chuval
Salor Turret Gul Chuval

Classical Salor Chuval with three turreted guls; the centres of which, worked in raspberry red silk, were strongly corroded and have been re-knotted. Several large restorations in the field; losses to the lower and upper ends. – Our very moderate estimate is meant to reflect the problematic condition of this lot, not its aesthetic quality.



A Salor Juval Fragment

A Salor Juval Fragment

Central Turkistan first quarter 19th century

Condition: Silk highlights, loses to sides and ends.

Warps: Wool, Z2S alternate warp strongly depressed, ivory.

Weft: Wool, 2Z (loosely plied) 2 shoots medium to dark brown.

Pile: Wool , silk (fuchsia), asymmetrical knot, open to the left.

Density: 11 – 14h 18 – 20v

Sides: Not original.

Ends: Warp fringe.

Colors: Deep crimson, strawberry, fuchsia, medium to deep azure, indigo, black, cherry, ivory.





A Salor Torba, Central Turketsan, first half 19th century

A Salor torba, Central Turketsan, first half 19th century

Original kilim ends folded under and sewn, oxidized silks.

Size: approximately 1 ft. 6 in. by 4 ft. (0.46 by 1.22m.)

Warp: wool, Z2S, natural ivory

Weft: wool, Z, 2 shoots, red and brown

Pile: wool and silk, asymmetric knot open to the left

Density: 13H, 18-19V

Sides: overcast with applied polychrome braid

Ends: upper: ivory kilim folded under and sewn; lower: red kilim folded under and sewn

Colors: wool: madder red, deep blue, deep blue-green, rose red, brown-red, ivory, walnut; silk: crimson







Early 18th century Salor Juval

Early 18th century Salor Juval


Central Turkistan early 18th century.

Condition: Small holes, loses to one side, oxidized aubergines, silk highlights.

Size: Approximately 4 ft. 1 in. by 2 ft. by 11

Warps: Wool, Z2S alternate warp slightly depressed, ivory.

Weft: Wool, Z2 2 shoots medium to dark brown.

Pile: Wool , asymmetrical knot, open to the left.

Density: 13 – 15h 18 – 20v

Sides: Wool 1 outer cord of 3 warps incomplete.

Ends: Warp fringe.

Colors: Venetian red, garnet, deep bottle green, toast, pewter brown, indigo, cordovan, ochre.







A Salor Kedgbe, Southwest Turkistan, circa 1800

A Salor Kedgbe, Southwest Turkistan, circa 1800

Silk highlights, cotton whites, loses to sides, overcast sides, glue residue on reverse.

Size: Approximately 3 ft. 4 in. by 1 ft. by 5 in. (099 by 043 cm)

Warps: Wool, Z2S alternate warp strongly depressed, ivory/ash mix.

Weft: Wool, Z2S, 2 shoots medium brown ash.

Pile: Wool , asymmetrical knot open to the left.

Density: 13 – 14h 15 – 16v

Sides: Not original.

Ends: Warp fringe.

Colors: Pomegranate, deep persimmon, carnelian, peacock blue. Pale to deep fuchsia, indigo, ivory, port, mahogany, pacific blue.





A Salor Torba, Central Turkestan, early 19th century

A Salor Torba, Central Turkestan, early 19th century

Oxidized pinks and browns, partial ends.

Size: approximately 1 ft. 9 in. by 3 ft. 11 in. (0.53 by 1.19m.)

Warp: wool, Z2S, natural ivory.

Weft: wool, Z, natural brown, 2 shoots.

Pile: wool, asymmetric knot, open to the left.

Density: 13-14H, 17-18V.

Sides: not original.

Ends: incomplete.

Colors: madder red, rust red, rose red, deep blue, medium blue, blue-green, yellow, ivory, walnut.







A Salor Torba, Central Turkestan, mid-19th century

A Salor Torba, Central Turkestan, mid-19th century

Condition: magenta silk, oxidized browns, foldwear, moth damage.

Size: approximately 1 ft. 8 in. by 4 ft. 1 in. (0.51 by 1.24m.)

The use of silk in this weaving is more extensive than in other known trappings and torbas with this turreted, kejebe design.





Salor Turkmen Torba, about 1900

Salor Turkmen Torba, about 1900

Size: 1ft.6in. x 4ft. 3in. 0.46m. x 1.37m.

In every way typical, this chemche-gul torba is of interest for its lateness of manufacture; its dyes and handle indicate a date early in the 20th century and, like other rare Salor weavings, indicate continuing for longer than was once thought.





Salor Chuval, 19th century

Salor Chuval, 19th century

Size: 121.9 x 81.2cm (48in x 32in)

Warp: wool, light brown, Z2S; alternate warps slightly depressed

Weft: wool 2Z, silk, Z2S

Knot: asymmetrical, predominately open on the right, some open on the left; 15 H x 20-21 V per in = 300-315 per sq.in

Colors: rust red, red, magenta (silk only), dark blue, medium blue, ivory, greenish brown

No original selvages or end finishes.



A Salor Kapunuk, Central Turkestan, 19th century

A Salor Kapunuk, Central Turkestan, 19th century

Condition: original tasseled end finishes, losses to end in horizontal panel, repaired slits, moth damage, stains, small reweave in one vertical panel, remnants of original selvages overcast on all sides

Size: approximately 4ft. 2in. by 4ft. 3in. (1.27 by 1.29m.)

Warp: wool, Z2S, natural ivory and brown

Weft: wool, Z, 2 shoots, natural brown, very depressed

Pile: wool and silk, asymmetric knot, open to the left

Density: 13-14 horizontal, 18-19 vertical

Sides: 4 warps wrapped in dark blue wool, most not original

Ends: central areas: not original; arms: 3/4 inch red kilim then 9 inch tassels comprised of 3 bunches of 2 warps twisted together and all wrapped in bands of red, magenta and blue wool and metallic thread

Colors: wool: ivory, madder red, rose red, deep blue, medium blue, walnut; silk: crimson







An Unusual Torba Face, Turcoman

An Unusual Torba Face, Turcoman

1st half 19th ct. or earlier

Condition: worn areas, 2 small holes, small damages to ends.

Size: 55 x 128 cm



Salor Turkmen Main Carpet, Central Asia, 19th Century

Salor Turkmen Main Carpet, Central Asia, 19th Century

Its classical design is perfectly executed with large main güls and the small secondary güls found on all but one of the Salor carpets generally known.





The Mushak/Marsh Salor Torba

The Mushak/Marsh Salor Torba





Salor Trimmings

Salor Trimmings

Origin: Central Asia, West Turkestan, Rühe 19th century.

Dimensions: 45 x 146 cm

An extremely rare, white-ground Salor with a roll leaf pattern. The lateral borders take an angled course and leave room at the two lower corners for a vertical beam adorned with small Chamtos motifs, which is a feature of the large Salor jewelery hangings. Sides with slight damage, slightly reduced on top and bottom. Ruby red silk parts strongly corroded.



Salor (S-Group) Kejebe 3 Roundel Wedding Trapping

Salor (S-Group) Kejebe 3 Roundel Wedding Trapping

Central Turkestan, first quarter nineteenth century.

Warp: wool, Z2S, alternate warps moderately to strongly depressed, ivory.

Weft: wool, two shoots, Z2S brown.

Pile: wool asymmetrical knot open to the left.

Density: 15-17H, 20-23V.

Sides: not original.

Ends: incomplete warp fringe.

Size: Approximately 9 ft. 5 in. by 7 ft. 2 in. (2.87 m. by 2.18m.).

Colors: mahogany, light and dark crimson, fuchsia, terracotta red, light and dark rust, deep teal, ivory, indigo, azure.





Salor Kejebe 2 Roundel Wedding Trapping Fragment

Salor Kejebe 2 Roundel Wedding Trapping Fragment

West Turkestan

Size: 170 by 59cm., 5ft. 7in. by 1ft. 11in.

Circa 1800, silk highlights, reduced in size. This camel decoration would have been woven, probably by the Turkmen bride herself, to adorn her camel during the wedding procession. They were usually woven in pairs. Although reduced in size (there would have originally been three large guls rather than two) the design still exhibits the scale, beauty and crisp execution that make Salor weavings of this group amongst the most magnificent of Turkoman weavings. They are also extremely rare, with about ten examples known.



(S-Group) Main Carpet Mid 19th Century

(S-Group) Main Carpet Mid 19th Century

Rare Antique Salor Carpet, Turkestan, Mid 19th Century. The red field containing six rows of twelve Afghan guls flanked by octagonal minor guls all within a Holbein variation border, silk highlights, fold cut, damaged areas. Approximately 10 feet 3 inches (3.13 m.) x 7feet 10 inches (2.39 m.)





Jenkins Salor Chuval

Jenkins Salor Chuval

It is the quintessence of the three-dimensional aesthetic, the illusion of depth created by distortion of outline or the modification of size of different design elements; this chuval is festooned with gulls literally flying from its surface.



Salor Juval 
Salor Juval

Central Asia, Western Turkestan, circa 1800 ca. 85 x 118 cm

An early nine-Gül-Chowal of the Salores with Kotchak. Hook border in bright colors and blossom elem. The centers of the primary glands are made of raspberry-colored silk, which is predominantly corroded, but not in the upper part. Also in the Kotschak motifs are some pattern details in silk executed. The high material requirements, the very precise knotwork with strongly stratified base fabric and the perfectly balanced composition are clear age indications. On the side, the side braids are missing, there are newly placed cords. Upper and lower end with the original kilims. Several old snaps.