May 2009 is the Weaving Art Museum's 11th year online and for that anniversary we present our tenth exhibition, the third to examine Turkmen pile woven rugs. Specifically this presentation seeks to identify important iconographic parallels Turkmen weavings share with certain ancient textiles and archaeological objects from Central Asia and western China, as well as others from eastern and western Mediterranean regions.

There is little question historic Turkmen weavings possess a highly developed and codified iconography but how this developed remains a mystery, perhaps the most important left unanswered in oriental carpet studies.

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It is for this reason the Weaving Art Museum has chosen to address this enigmatic question, one this author has investigated for many years. The information presented here offers a new paradigm but, like the old parable which came first the chicken or the egg, it does not seek to prove where the designs displayed on Turkmen rugs came from but rather to place them within the larger context of ancient west Asian textile art history.

Therefore this exhibition should be seen as a work in progress rather than the final word on this topic and the design parallels offered considered only within that framework.

It is also important to note no other publication has yet to relate Turkmen pile weavings to the target group of textiles we illustrate, nor has any author attempted to use them to decipher the complicated weaving mellieu in which the Turkmen pile rug developed.

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Clearly the complex iconography of the Turkmen rug, or in fact any other genre of historic oriental rug, did not appear from nowhere; yet how these woven patterns of significance developed is still far from understood. Solving this question has proven to be difficult to say the least and, even though the information published herein is far from definitive, we believe it provides new and salient viewpoints and opens up promising avenues for further investigation.


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