Turkmenistan, Central Asia
Silk, cotton; L. 47 3/4 in. (121.3 cm), W. 89 1/2 in. (227.3 cm)
Purchase, Hajji Baba Club and The Page and Otto Marx Jr. Foundation Gifts, in memory of Newton Foster, 1999 (1999.141)
Tekke Turkoman women's mantles are typically embroidered, by women, with small motifs in silk thread with a lacing stitch (kesdi). They are worn over the tunic (kurta) cloak-fashion, covering the head and shoulders, with the long vestigial sleeves hanging down the back and joined by an embroidered band. Among the Tekke, the chyrpy's color indicated the age of the wearer: dark blue or black for a young woman, yellow for a married woman of middle age, and white for a matriarch. The motifs were most frequently stylized flowers, and especially the tulip, the most prolific wildflower of the region. The fish in the present piece, however, represent another ubiquitous requirement in Turkoman life, that of good fortune and the provision of protection.