Guide to Saryk Turkmen Rugs & Carpets

The Saryk are one of the original 23 tribes of the Oghuz. In the early 19th century they defeated the Salor and for a short period of time were the preeminent Turkmen tribe until losing to the Tekke.

Saryk rugs fall into three phases:

First phase has a soft clear orange red as the field color no silk or cotton pile Turkish knots and a soft apricot color in the Gul.

1st phase Saryk

Second Phase rugs often use silk and cotton in the pile, insect dyes and the main field red tends more to a blue or a brown red than the orange red of the first phase. Gul quadrants use a color more orange than the apricot of the First Phase rugs. Both Turkish and Persian knotting are seen in Second Phase.



Third Phase: Colors are darker and brown and purple brown are seen as field colors. At worst there is garish overuse of insect dyed silk and cotton as white. Rugs use Turkish knots.



Thoughts on the decline of Saryk Weaving in the Third Phase

When the Tekke drove the Saryk out of the Merv Oasis the Saryk moved south under the protection of the Jamshidi who controlled the area north of Heart for the governor of Heart. The area was Choi north of Badghis between the Hari-rud and the Murghab River. Choi mean desert rut not sand desert, Choi was an area suitable for herding but not nearly as fertile as the land the Jamshidi lived on. This allowed the Saryk to flee “south of the border” so to speak and gave the additional safeguard of being under the protection of the government of Herat which was under the authority of the King of Kabul and his British allies. This was potent protection since the British came in and exerted their authority over Herat in 1855-56.

Moving to Choi was a drastic change for the Saryk. Besides Farming and herding the Saryk gained wealth by slaving and weaving. The Russians and the British effectively ended the slaving. Weaving dramatically decreased in importance but the nature of living in Choi. The Treaty of Paris 1856 which ended the Afghan-Persian War severely curtailed trade between Afghanistan and Persia. Without the Persian market and separated from the Central Asian markets by their enemy the Tekke, weaving for commerce declined drastically. Additionally without the rich farms of Merv and the income from slaving the Saryk were not in a position for extravagant weaving for personal use.

From all this we see the decline of the Saryk Weaving from the earlier heights to the dark coarse rugs that I call the Third Phase.



Saryk Weaving:

Saryk Yolami Fragments Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and the Iran. Mostly Turkmenistan.



Size: Bags rugs and carpets.

In discussing a group of Carpets O'Bannon wrote:"Of the early carpets, the smallest was 7'x7' (Thacher), which coordinates with one of the smallest number of guls, 4x9. The largest is Lot 123 at 9'1"x711". In general the oldest were squarish in dimension. Later pieces were more rectangular, 10'3"x7' 11", 7'3"x4'8"." O'Bannon, The Saryq Main Carpet

Structure: 1st and 3rd phase Symmetrical knot.2nd phase may be Asymmetric open left. 100 to 250 KPSI. No depression to slight warp depression in older rugs and deeper depression increasing to deep der on very late rugs.

Knots Per Square Inch. Densities recorded were 108 (Lot 123), 112 (Grote-Hasenbalg, Plate 85, est.), 162 (Jones/Schürmann), 200-250 (Thacher but probably 125), 134 (Herrmann VI), 135 (Lot 133), and 144 (Franses). O'Bannon, The Saryq Main Carpet.

"Saryk weavings the vertical to horizontal (knot) ratio is 1:1.5-2.0" O'Bannon , A White Central Asian Asmalyk of a Rare Type

George O'Bannon wrote: "There are two implied assumptions which present problems in assessing these rugs. The first is: if they are Turkish knotted, they are Saryk. We know from past and current production that the Yomud Turkoman tribal groups used both the Turkish and Persian knots. The Saryk Turkomans in Afghanistan today weave rugs with both types of knots. They probably did so in the past." http://www.rugreview.com/82saryq.htm

Yarn & Pile: Z Spun wool

Cotton and Silk. The oldest rugs are believed to have neither. Silk and, occasionally, cotton are found in mid-century weavings. Their use increases dramatically late in the century and in early 20th century rugs. Neither are common in mid-20th century Saryq rugs from Afghanistan. O'Bannon, The Saryq Main Carpet.

Warp: Two ply wool

Weft: 2 shots gray, brown or ivory wefts (Black in late 3rd phase)

Pile: 2 wool singles.

Ends: Most often weft faced plain weave.

Also overhand knots with warp fringe. Mallett shows a pile mafrash with an expanded plainweave band of fine brown wool interlaced on 3 warp units. Mallett, Woven Structures 14: 1

Selvages: Attached Interlaced selvage with free floating warps. Mallett, Marla. Woven Structures 15: 40

Handle: Light - medium. later rugs get a progressively heavier handle as warp depression increases.

Examples

Saryk Trapping Prior to 1800
Saryk Trapping Prior to 1800
This Saryk decorative trapping , here for lack of available radio carbon dating carefully dated, could be one the oldest, us received Turkmen work. The Kedschebe sample is differently conceived than otherwise, with a large, flat oval in the Feldmitte, whose ornamentations approach radially on a star-filled, hook-occupied stages polygon in the center. White cotton portions accent the sample.


Kizilayak Juval late 19th
Kizilayak Juval late 19th
A large nine Gül Tschowal of the Kizilayak Turkmenen with light red field, chemche secondary güls and interesting Kotschak motives as border design. The Elem is decorated with house-like Giebel design. - Sides and upper conclusion, down remainders of the Kelim again back tapes received. Light wear.

Saryk Torba Complex Grid
Saryk Torba Complex Grid

Origin: Central Asia, West Turkestan, early 19th century

Size: ca. 43 x 106 cm

Notes on Condition

With a complex grid design, symmetrical knotting, and its characteristic border this rare bagface is the work of a Saryk weaver. Closely related is a piece in the Leningrad Museum. Very important collector’s item. – Upper corners slightly damaged, in overall very good condition.


Saryk 3rd Phase Rug
Saryk 3rd Phase Rug

Saryk Rug. Afghanistan late 20th century. 5 foot 9 inch by 4 foot.

Structure: Symmetrical knot pulled left. 8 knots per horizontal inch and 12 knots per vertical inch. 106 per square inch (1643 per square decimeter). Deeply depressed.

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: 2 ply wool, tan.

Weft: 2 shots 2 ply black wool.

Pile: 2 Wool singles.

Ends: 3/4 inch plain weave, Warp fringe.

Selvages: 1 warp set wrapped in black wool.

Further Notes: New rug, well made, good dyes, great color. No problems that I can spot.

Turreted Gul pieces were originally attributed to the Salor but as Rug scholarship advanced it became obvious that turreted Gul were attributable to the Salor, the Saryk, and to the Tekke. It has been suggested that Saryk only started weaving them after they defeated the Salor but Turkmen Expert James Allen feels that while rare there are Turreted Gul Saryks in all three phases and that the Saryks have always woven that design.


The Saryk Anomaly
The Saryk Anomaly
The Saryk Anomaly 2

2 foot 10 inches by 4 foot 6 inches

The Saryk are one of the original 23 tribes of the Oghuz Confederation. In the early 19th century they defeated the Salor and for a short period of time were the preeminent Turkmen tribe until losing their primary position to the Tekke.

Saryk weaving normally falls into three phases:

First phase has a soft clear orange red as the field color no silk or cotton pile Turkish knots and a soft apricot color in the Gul.

Second phase rugs often use silk and cotton in the pile, insect dyes and the main field red tends more to a blue or a brown red than the orange red of the first phase. Gul quadrants use a color more orange than the apricot of the first phase rugs. Both Turkish and Persian knotting are seen in Second phase.

Third phase: Colors are darker and brown and purple brown are seen as field colors. At worst there is garish overuse of insect dyed silk and cotton as white. Rugs use Turkish knots.

This rug is an anomaly. It does not fit clearly into the conventional wisdom of our understanding of Saryk weaving. I should make up some story that this is 400 years old and a "Museum" piece. However life is too short to try to snooker you with exaggerated claims so I will call this a late 19th century anomaly.

Saryk Juval Fragment. Southwest Asia, Circa 1890. 2 foot 10 inches by 4 foot 6 inches. (Not including fringe)

Structure: Symmetrical knot.9 knots per horizontal inch and 12 knots per vertical inch. 108 per square inch (1674 per square decimeter). Slightly depressed.

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: 2 ply wool, tan.

Weft: 2 shots 2 ply wool, tan.

Pile: 2 Wool singles.

Further Notes: Fragmentary with condition problems. The bluish red is insect based natural dye (caraminic acid) and the light red is most likely Azo, the blue is natural indigo, and the ivory and brown are natural as well. There is transference of the Azo like dye into lighter areas.

The knot ratio is 9 to 12 which points to an early attribution. The archaic drawing and wide Gul spacing points to an early attribution. The color points towards an early attribution. The occasional use of offset field knotting points towards an early attribution.

Note the Purple reddish brown color. John Howe has suggested that purple wool comes from Purple Karakul Sheep. This same fellow that thinks green wool comes from green sheep. Needless to say the dye tests indicated that this wool was dyed.


Saryk Turkmen Main Carpet Fragment
Saryk Turkmen Main Carpet Fragment
Saryk Turkmen Main Carpet Fragment 2

Fragment of main carpet by the Saryk Turkmen,

Turkmenistan early 19th century, 2 ft. 5 in. x 3 ft. 8 in. 0.74 m. x 1.12 m. £150-250

Condition: Overall wear, heavy in small areas.

The quatrefoil interiors of the principal Sary gols and the eight-pointed star centers of the minor chuval guls are both quite unusual.


Saryk Kejebe Bridal Trapping
Saryk Kejebe Bridal Trapping
Saryk Kejebe Bridal Trapping 2

A Kejebe is a bridal rug. This one was made by Saryks in Northern Afghanistan. The Saryks are a Turkmen people who historically inhabit Northern Afghanistan and Turkistan. The Saryks moved into Northern Afghanistan after losing prime oasis land to the Tekke. This Kejebe is for an average person rather than a member of the tribal elite.

Saryk Kejebe (eating cloth)

Northern Afghanistan, late 19th century or turn of the century. 40 inches by 51 inch (not including fringe).

Structure: Overlay, underlay brocading with varying float sequences on a balanced plain weave ground.

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: 2 ply Wool, tan.

Weft: 2 ply Wool, 2 shoots. tan.

Ends: warp fringe.

Selvages: 3 cord wrapped in dark wool.

Condition: Used with some wear. Some minor wear to brocading visible in main picture. Structurally in excellent shape for an antique.

Provenance: From the collection of an Internationally Known Expert and Connoisseur who wishes to remain anonymous.

This is a very nice example of a fairly rare type. The colors in this piece are really nice. The person I got the piece from is an internationally known expert and Connoisseur who was quite definite in his attribution of 19th century and natural dyes. I have to agree the piece is splendid.

It is interesting to note that brocading is all done on the loom. Many people confuse this with embroidery but an easy way to tell is that brocading runs with the wefts but embroidery may be in any direction.


Antique Saryk Yolami Fragments
Antique Saryk Yolami Fragments

Origin: Central Asia, West Turkestan, early 19th century

Size: approx. 151 x 28 cm

Notes on Condition - Literature References

Presumably another fragment from same tent band

Two Antique Saryk Yolami Fragments 2

Origin: Central Asia, West Turkestan, early 19th century

Size: approx. 188 x 27 cm

Notes on Condition - 

This fragment is the flat-woven part of a Saryk tent band decorated with the typical flowers, followed by a complete tree motif. In good condition.


Saryk Yolami Tent Band
Saryk Yolami Tent Band

Origin: Central Asia, West Turkestan, early 19th century

Size: ca. 162 x 33 cm

Notes on Condition

Except for minor damage to the sides, this Yolami fragment is in good condition.


The Antique Saryk Carpet Fragment
The Antique Saryk Carpet Fragment

Origin: Central Asia, West Turkestan, 19th century

Size: approx. 230 x 167 cm

Notes on Condition - 

Fragment of an early Saryk main carpet. – Partly low and some losses to pile, mounted. Lit: MACKIE, LOUISE & Dr. Jon Thompson, Turkmen. Washington D. C. 1980, no. 17 – PINNER, ROBERT, An unusual Saryk Carpet in the Islamisches Museum, East Berlin. In: OCTS I, London 1985, p. 140


Auberginefarbigem Grund Antique Saryk Rug
Auberginefarbigem Grund Antique Saryk Rug

Turkmene. Saryk. Um 1900. Zweo Reihen à 10 Sarykgöls auf auberginefarbigem Grund.. 212 x 118cm. Zustand C.


Saryk Tschowal-Muster Hauptteppich
Saryk Tschowal-Muster Hauptteppich

Saryk. 19. Jh. 253 x 147cm. Tschowal-Muster. Seltener, alter Saryk-Hauptteppich. Zustand C/D. Lit.: Battenberg 4, S. 77


Pende/Saryk Ensi c. 1890
Pende/Saryk Ensi c. 1890

This is a Pende/Saryk ensi. It was woven about 1890 in Turkmenistan and is in very good condition. The size is about 4x6.


Saryk Ensi 17th/18th Century
Saryk Ensi 17th/18th Century

Origin: Central Asia, West Turkestan, 17th/18th century

Size: ca. 179 x 128 cm

Notes on Condition

An excellent early Saryk Engsi with beautiful colours and a spacious design. Generally still in good condition; the braided shirazi is preserved at the left side, but missing on the right side; this side shows some quite visible damage. Upper right corner need to be repaired. Both ends slightly reduced; a few low areas.


Saryk-Engsi c. 1900
Saryk-Engsi c. 1900

Saryk-Engsi. Um 1900. 183 x 140cm. Provenienztypische Zeichnung, Elem mit Bäumchenmuster. Zustand B/C. Lit.: Battenberg 4, Seite 84






Saryk Khordjin



Saryk Khordjin

Turkmenistan 19th century

Pile and flatwoven, magenta silk highlights, cotton whites, some fraying to the applied binding, small repair to flatwoven back.

Approximately 3 ft. 1 in. by 1 ft. by 5 in. (094 by 043 cm)





Pair of Saryk Turkmen part silk and cotton chuvals


Pair of Saryk Turkmen part silk and cotton chuvals

Pende Oasis, Turkmenistan about 1890-1910

Each 3ft.3in. x 5ft.7in. 1m. x 1. 79m.

One with small ink stain, both with slight corrosion of cochineal dyed silk. A very handsome pair of Saryk chuvals with extensive use of silk and the white piled in cotton typical of this period.






Saryk Ensi 17th/18th C. 

Saryk Ensi 17th/18th C.

Turkmenistan 18th or 19th century. Partial side borders and end borders, small hole and repaired slits in center.

Approximately 5 ft. 11 in. by 4 ft. by 3 in. (180 by 130 cm)






Ersari Rug 19th C.


Ersari Rug 19th C.

An Ersari Turkmen Rug Turkmenistan 19th century.

Holes, bits out of ends, partial side borders, small reweave one corner, reweave in border, several small repairs in border, oxidized browns.

Approximately 6 ft. 3 in. by 3 ft. 4 in. (160 by 102 cm)


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