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Wednesday, 8 June 2005
Turkmen Emboridery
Topic: Turkmen Traditions
Akgaima, kojime and ilme (or ildirme - chain stitching) are basic types of Turkmen embroidery stitches. Every stitch is widespread in certain groups of Turkmen. Akkaima is never met singly; sometimes it is combined with embroidery, which is made according to the technique of the second type - kodjp-me (or just keshde - embroidery), which is quite common on its own. Both akkaima and kojime are widespread amongst Turkmen - Tekins, Goklens, Sariks and other small groups living amongst them. Akkaima is mainly applied to men's tyubeteykas; this very stitch is also used for the neck of dresses and shirts, and the lower edges of women's trousers.

Embroidery is made on the front and very dense stitched; pointed ornament in a form of triangles and broken lines is made. Kojime stitch is very similar to a stitch known to Russian people as "kozlik with mount", but with loop framing. Southern Turkmen use it for embroidery on girl's tyubeteykas and dressing gowns. Women's mantle dressing gowns, i.e., chirpi, covered by patterns (almost out of use now), are especially abundantly embroidered by this stitch.

In addition to the southern Turkmen, Tashaus Turkmen Yomuts, Emreli and also contemporary choudors also use kojime stitch (they knew how to chain stitch in the past).

Chain stitch is usual for western Turkmen Yomuts and small size groups of Turkmen - hodja, idgir, shih, living to the north of Krasnovodsk. Chain stitch was more used in the past; it was typical for Turkmen who are known under the name of Turkmen esen-hani (hasan eli). There are ancient dressing gowns and women's caps of choudors in the Tashauz region, all covered by patters of chain stitch on red or blue thin cloth brought from Russia. Ancient items of shihs, igdirs, now living on the Caspian seaside, are very close in character and technique of embroidery (on thin cloth and the type of patterns) to those of choudors.

Chain stitch is made by needlework amongst Turkmen, although other people of the Central Asia embroider chain stitch by hook. For all patterns made by chain stitch, a double line is typical.

Turkmen use two types of stitch as subsidiary stitches, usually hiding inner joining seams. First, a covering stitch of satin stitch type with straight or slanting stitches, called tugtima (Tekins) or gurtikin (Yomuts), i.e., fixed and loop, in which loops are in the middle of the pattern, forming a herring bone. Featherstitch and others are also met, but they do not determine the character of Turkmen embroidery, which is various in technique and ornament.

From our point of view, the technique of Turkmen embroidery is evidence of various ethnic components in the composition of the Turkmen nation. When thoroughly studied, it will give a lot of material for the study of Turkmen ethnogeny. A very interesting fact has to be noted here: the technique of kojime, widespread amongst Turkmen, is not met amongst other people of Central Asia. The only exception is a part of the southern Kyrgyz, inhabitants of Osh region, who widely use this technique of embroidery.

Embroidery patterns, as well as those of carpets, are strictly geometrical. However, for ancient embroidered dressing gowns and Tekin, Goklen, and Yomut girls' caps, as well as for women's head mantles of Tekin chirpi, the kurte geometrical floral ornament, close to the ornament of jewellery, is typical.

Girl's and men's tyubeteykas, the neck and sleeves of women's dresses (and in the distant past men's as well), the lower part of trousers (which can be seen from underneath of dress), different kinds of small bags used for keeping domestic things, watch cases and men's ties are conventionally embroidered by Turkmen women. Woollen embroidery on woven carpets or walking carpets is met less often.

Today, embroidery is being renewed

Source: Traditional culture and folklore of Central Asia

Posted by countryturkmenistan at 1:56 PM
Updated: Thursday, 23 June 2005 12:18 PM
Monday, 6 June 2005
The Turkmen
Topic: Turkmen History
The Turkmen made the transition to an agricultural lifestyle fairly recently and their cultural characteristics are unique in many ways.

The origins of Turkmen is fairly well understood. The term Turkmen is not so clear. The first part of the word is clear, the name Turkic people gave themselves; but the second half is not so clear. Linguistically it is clear: Turk-men means "I am a Turk". Another explanation made in the 17th c by Abul-gazi was that it comes from the Persian "turk-manend" - like Turk, a type of Turk. There is also the idea that it basically has two etymologies - turk-koman (kumany-kipchaki or polovets (tribe)).

For the first time, the name "turkmen" appeared at the end of the 10th century in Arabic literature: it was a name of a part of the Turkic tribes (oguz, karluk, etc.) which lived on the border of the agricultural area of Central Asia, or in its heart among the Iranian-speaking agricultural population. According to records of Marvazi (the 12th century writer), 'Turkmen' was given to the part of oguz population which accepted Islam. One can suppose that it was a name of Turkic-language tribes from the Aral-Caspian steppe and partially from Semirechye, in contrast to Turkic-language tribes of Central Asia.

Since the 11-12th centuries the term 'turkmen' was more widespread, and gradually became the name of a nationality formed in the western part of Central Asia. Besides that, many cattle-breeding tribes of oguz origin were called Turkmen. Since the 11th century they have settled in Asia Minor, Azerbaijan and northern Iraq, and later they became a part of Azerbaijanian and Turkish nations.

Over the centuries the Turkmen have been keeping the clan-tribe social organization. The location of the tribes has repeatedly changed because of various political and economical circumstances. In the 19th century (starting from its middle till the last decades) the major Turkmen tribes were located on the territory of current Turkmenistan in the following way: Yomuts occupied more of less a solid territory eastwards of the Caspian Sea.

The border of this territory is a line stretching from the southwest towards the northeast: Atrek river - Kyzyl-Arvat town - Kunya-Urgench town. Turkmen occupied the basins of Murgab and Tedjen rivers, and the foothill oases along northern slopes of Kopet-Dag towards Kyzyl-Arvata in the west; to the north of their pasturable territories were Zaunguzsk Karakums. Ersari were located along the left and partially on the right banks of the Amudarya, between Kelif and Chardjou cities; the Solars occupied the middle of Chardjou oblast and the Serah district; the Saryks were placed in the basin of the Murgab (Yolotan and Tahta-Bazar rayons); as for goklens, they occupied territories mainly along the rivers Sumbar and Cahdyr (Kara-Kalin district); the Choudors placed themselves within Horezm oasis; the Ali-ilis (Alilis) - in the foothills of eastern Kopet-Dag; the Karadashlis and Yemrelis - in the western part of Khorezm oasis, and small groups of them occupied the south of Turkmenistan, and so on. The Yomuts, Goklens, Yemrals, Alilis, Saryks, Salyrs settled in Iran; the Ersars, Alilis and Saryks in Afghanistan.

The Turkmen tribes lived a secluded life and had poor economic connections with the outside world and their neighbors who were separated by territories difficult to trespass. Therefore, the Turkmen lived in isolation.

This isolation was a reason for the difference between the biggest Turkmen tribes in their histories and ways of life.

Cattle breeding used to be the main occupation of the major northern tribes. Turkmen were breeding fat-tail sheep, camels and horses. Herding by the yomuds still survived till recently on the steppes. Each tribe had chomurs or charvadars. This type of management died out slowly: herding was less viable and settled agricultural work became the norm. Sometimes, however, settled farmers turned to herding.

At the same time, all Turkmen tribes were dealing with agriculture. Their farming was similar to the traditions elsewhere in Central Asia. They used irrigation via canals. The Murgab river does not flow into a lake; it is diverted into canals. The same is the case for the Tedjen. Turkmen who lived in the neighborhood of Sarykamysh Lake, namely the adakly-hyzyr tribe, created a complicated system of artificial irrigation, which helped to develop about 50 hectare of land. Turkmen primitive agriculture was also found in the western part of Khorezm oasis. Southern Turkmen tribes had an ancient and advanced agricultural economy (yazrs - from the 12th c), though cattle raising was also important. It was of the least importance for the Mangyshlak peninsula and Big Balhans, but even there small springs were used for field irrigation.

In the 16th c, a majority of Turkmen tribes had a typical combination of irrigated agriculture with nomadic or distant-pasture cattle-raising. Respectively, they had a partly nomadic way of life, where a part of one and the same ethnic group (charva) were moving with herds, and the other part (chomrs) were settled and busy with agriculture. In "The Turks' genealogical tree" Abul'-Gazi wrote about the half-nomadic way of life of Turkmen, saying that a nomadic type of life was specific to those parts who owned cattle, i.e., who were richer.

The process of forming the Turkmen nation was stretched out and continued to our times. Now they are one, but till the 1920s, they were composed of various tribes. This tribal custom was more pronounced than with other peoples of Central Asia.


Posted by countryturkmenistan at 2:17 PM
Updated: Monday, 6 June 2005 2:20 PM
Friday, 3 June 2005
Turkmenistan marks Carpet Day
Topic: Turkmen Traditions
ASGHABAT, May 29 - Turkmenistan, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia, marks Carpet Day on Sunday. This national holiday was established before the country declared independence in 1991 and is celebrated on the last Sunday of May.

A performance involving pop stars and dance ensembles will be held near the National Carpet Museum in downtown Ashkhabad on this day. A colorful oriental bazaar will offer various carpets and other traditional Turkmen goods.

The show is organized by the Turkmen Carpet state-run corporation comprising 16 enterprises. Their carpets won many prestigious awards at international fairs in Paris, Montreal, Leipzig, Brussels, etc.

Many carpets have ornaments featuring the Turkmen national flag and coat of arms as a symbol of people's unity.

Famous Italian traveler Marco Polo (1254-1324) wrote that Turkmenistan boasted the thinnest and most beautiful carpets in the world. Renaissance artists later used to depict these carpets on their paintings.

Turkmen carpets were mentioned in Avesta (Zoroastrian archives), works by ancient Greek and Chinese historians, ancient Indian epics The Ramayana and The Mahabharata, The Shah Nameh by Persian poet Firdousi, The Thousand and One Nights, a series of stories in Arabic, etc.

Russian Emperor Alexander II had a Turkmen prayer carpet with images of Mecca and Medina.

Many world museums and private collectors have Turkmen carpets, however, Ashkhabad has the unique Carpet Museum.

The Soul of Turkmenistan huge carpet (193.5 square meters) created in 1941-1942 is one of the museum's main relics.

Another giant carpet, Turkmenbashi (the Turkmen President), was created in 1996 and displayed in the National Museum of Turkmenistan. Its weight is 550 kilograms and total area - 266 square meters. The third giant carpet, President (294 square meters), weighing 1,000 kilograms was made in 1998. It decorates the magnificent Rukhyet Palace.

The fourth carpet, The Golden Epoch of Great Saparmurat Turkmenbashi (301 square meters), weighing 1,200 kilograms was created in 2001. It was included in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest handmade carpet.

Source: RIA Novosti

Posted by countryturkmenistan at 1:57 PM
Updated: Friday, 3 June 2005 2:00 PM
Thursday, 2 June 2005
Bright faces of spring
Topic: Turkmen Traditions
Winter is neither long nor cold in Turkmenistan. Nevertheless, the southerner’s soul that used to enjoy the sunlight yearns for the first March heat to replace the gloomy, unfriendly winter sky!

Blossoming fruit trees are the first signal of the season change. It signals the arrival of one of the main holidays - Nowruz Bayramy. Marked annually on March 20-22 within the framework of National spring holiday, it takes a worthy place in the state Turkmen calendar of dates and events.

Nowruz Bayramy is the traditional holiday of peoples of practically all Muslim countries. Yet, if to get into details, this holiday is older than the Muslim religion as such. The day of spring equinox was regarded as the new year’s first day starting from the time of ancient Mesopotamia. The first day of spring and awakening of the nature was also marked in Zoroastrism, which was widely professed before Islam in the territories inhabited by Turkmen. Thus, it can be stated with confidence that Turkmen celebrated Nowruz even in the pre-Islamic times.

Nowruz, marking renewal of the nature and arrival of sunny days, was a symbol of worshipping a magic cult of fertility and prosperity. Nowruz-related traditions and ceremonies reflect all spheres of life of the people. People observe them with a view to ensure well-being of their families, neighbors and avert all misery and misfortunes. A ceremony of cooking the ritual meal, the grown cereal grains as a symbol of fertility in cult religion, was on of the basic strictly observed traditions among other ceremonies. A house is being cleaned up in the run up to the holiday. A bounteous feast with numerous guests is the major part of the holiday. According to legends, abundance and variety of meal on the table will ensure plenty of food for a family in the new year.

Some omens associated with the ancient spring holiday are still popular with Turkmen. For example:

If it is cloudy on Nowruz, such weather will hold on till June.

If it is snowing or raining on Nowruz, the year will be plenteous.

The fruits crop will be heavy, if fruit trees bleed on Nowruz.

The grain crop will be bounteous, if weather is cold on Nowruz.

Young people mark the arrival of spring with traditional outdoor games and competitions. The first horse races and dog fights are held during Nowruz celebrations. The modern life of the Turkmen state has added new colors to the bright palette of the ancient spring holiday. Today, Nowruz Bayramy coincides with the celebration of Woman’s Day, day of Mother, in Turkmenistan. The deep ancient symbolism of renewal and continuation of life has never better embodied the recognition of women's role in the life of society.

Ahmetjan NURIEV, Culturologist
Turkmenistan Analytical Magazine, March 2005

Posted by countryturkmenistan at 9:29 AM
Wednesday, 1 June 2005
Made in Turkmenistan
Topic: Economy & business
Over US $ 1 billion have been invested in the republic?s textile industry since independence.
The biggest in Central Asia textile enterprise, ?Turkmenbashi Tekstil Kompleksi?, has been just recently awarded the IWAY certificate that confirms the full conformity of its technological process to international standards in securing the social rights and environmental protection. The document certifies that new technologies used at the enterprise are environmentally friendly and constitute no danger to the health of the population.

It should be stressed this is not the only fact of acknowledgment of highly efficient operation of the Complex, which is located in the southern part of Ashgabat. For instance, the United Nations main consultative body on technical issues, a specialized international organization for standardization, awarded ISO-9001 certificate to the production of the Complex, which is evidence of high quality of the enterprise?s output that meets the world highest standards.

In addition to that, the enterprise uses the so-called ISO-14001 system of environmental management allowing it to achieve absolute ecological cleanliness of the production process situated within the city?s precincts. The cascade of powerful facilities, in which wastes are subjected to mechanical, biological and chemical treatment, was installed there.

The complex has now completed the preparations for the forthcoming tests of the quality management at the enterprise to conform to the QWAY certificate that proves the guarantees of the standard production process. Besides, the Complex has already started applying WRAP standards, ?World Responsibility in Articles Production?. Since November 2004, works on the launch of ?6 Sigma? system to receive a higher profit at the expense of prime cost reduction and minimization of production losses have been under way. Such famous companies as Motorola and General Electric use this internationally recognized system.

Actually, it is enough to name contractual partners of the enterprise to get convinced in the ?Turkmenbashi Tekstil Kompleksi? output?s high quality and competitiveness. Such major multinationals as Calvin Klein, Sara Lee, Casual Wear, Ikea, 2X Ist, Miss Erica, Wal-Mart, Vespolino, Ibena, JC Penney and others are among its main customers. The geography of exports of the Complex?s products is also impressive. They are exported to the USA, Europe and CIS countries. At present, the leader of Turkmenistan?s textile industry produces 25 types of fabrics and a broad range of textile wear. The Complex is fitted up with the latest equipment and technology of leading Japanese, Swiss, German and Turkish companies. The unique machinery of Italian Bierrebi company is the pride of the enterprise. This latest technological know-how makes it possible to produce seamless T-shirts.

Five years ago, when this US $116 million Complex was commissioned, Saparmurat Niyazov, speaking at its inauguration, emphasized that development of the textile industry would be one of the country?s main priorities. This sector has got a considerable boost over the last years. Tens of factories, industrial complexes and facilities producing cotton yarn, jersey, jeans cloth of high standards that are exported to many countries, including the developed states, have been built.

Today that over US $ 1 billion have been invested in the textile industry the country takes pride in its most modern enterprises as ?Turkmenbashi Tekstil Kompleksi?, Kipchak Textile Complex, Atamurat Textile Complex, ?Serdar? Cotton Spinning Factory in Kaahka producing high grade cotton yarn, Bakharden Cotton Spinning Factory, Dashoguz Cotton Spinning Factory and many other ventures. On visiting them, one can see the great transformation that has taken place in the textile industry.

Each of them deserves the highest appraisal. Buildings are bright, spacious and clean. They have been fitted up with the latest equipment of the leading world companies, operated mostly by a computer system. Tens of yarn types are produced at new factories. Kaahka Factory produces yarn from fine-staple cotton, the one in Bakharden manufactures yarn from medium staple cotton. What a fine jersey and ready products are made from it at Kipchak and Geoktepe Textile Complexes, as well as at many other enterprises. Almost the entire production of ?Turkmenbashi Tekstil Kompleksi? meets the world standards. And that is why it receives orders from big European and American companies. The textile enterprises operate on the work order basis. The Turkmen production is actively winning international markets.

At the same time, the Turkmen Government is watching that the Turkmen textile production is available, first of all, in the domestic market for citizens of the country. In stores and specialized shops people can purchase local high quality textile goods at the lowest prices.

The textile sector of the republic fulfils orders of the Ministries of Defence, Interior, Health and Border Service and other state-owned organizations to produce bed clothes, garments and uniforms.

It is noteworthy that before gaining the independence the textile sector in Turkmenistan was represented only by four enterprises with outdated equipment and capacity to process raw cotton up to 10 thousand tons a year. These enterprises processed only 3 per cent of the total amount of raw cotton harvested in the republic. Today, the total capacity of modernized and new textile enterprises stands at 135 thousand tons of cotton fibre a year. Enterprises of the Ministry of Textile Industry produce over 80 per cent of all non-food consumer goods. And the launch of new facilities helped create some 15 thousand new jobs.

As stated in the development program until 2020, the Government plans to establish new modern enterprises all over the republic. Their commissioning will allow Turkmenistan to process up to 500 thousand tons of raw cotton. By 2020, the yarn production is to be increased up to 350 thousand tons a year, cotton cloth ? to 580 million square meters, raw silk ? up to 720 tons. Over US$ 650 million will be invested in the textile industry. It is envisaged to build a complex of cotton processing enterprises with the complete industrial cycle in each of the country?s cotton planting regions.

In 2004, the construction of the second biggest textile complex in Ashgabat was started. It will consist of six factories with the annual production totalling US $ 71 million. The Complex will employ over 3000 people. It will be put into operation in October 2005.

Approximately within the same period, a Cotton Spinning Factory at Abadan town (capacity ? 25.3 thousand tons of yarn a year with 1400 thousand work places) will be commissioned. A bit earlier, a weaving factory at Vekilbazar town (capacity ? 63.7 million sq. m. of fabric a year) will be launched. A complex of shoe and sewing factories at Makhtumkuli etrap (the south-west of the republic) will be built, Turkmenabat Shoe factory will be upgraded and some other enterprises will be commissioned.

Thus, step by step, Turkmenistan proves in practice its aspiration to take a worthy place among the world?s textile powers.


Source: Turkmenistan.Ru

Posted by countryturkmenistan at 9:28 AM
Updated: Thursday, 2 June 2005 4:10 PM

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