Turkmen carpet is the most widespread and ancient “brand” of national traditions. For a long time, European merchants trading with the East brought cotton, silks and, of course, carpets to their countries. Today, the Turkmen carpet can be seen in the famous museum collections of the world and the houses of the great connoisseurs of art.
They say about Turkmen carpets that they are "stronger than stone — more tender than a rose." And for a Turkmen, there is simply no home without a carpet. The child took the first steps on a children's rug specially woven especially for his birth, and already the adult girl, the bride, carried a whole carpet dowry with a camel. A camel was covered with carpet blankets with tassels, knee-plates were put on, a breastplate was hung. The groom's house met the bride with carpets too. In front of her, a carpet with a rich ornament was thrown back — an ensi blocking the entrance to the yurta, and she stepped over the germetch, the rug on the threshold, turned out on a large carpet covering the floor (chaly). Along the walls of the tent there were carpet "chests", bags and sacks for all kinds of household utensils.
Every day the Turkmen addressed Allah on the prayer rug — namazlyk, and when death came, they covered it with ayatlyk carpet ... Dozens of types of carpet products were used in everyday life. The main carpet in the house was like a passport - the history of the tribe, clan, family was encoded in it.
And the carpet began on spring pastures where herds of sheep grazed. In the old days, they knew well when to start a haircut and from which places to cut the wool that will go for the yarn of the future carpet. Before shearing, the sheep were supposed to overtake through a small river: the wool would then be clean, delicate. Bright colors were extracted from local plants. Madder gave all the shades of red: from the thick-purple, even brown, to cherry, pink. Yellow paint was obtained from the fruit of buckthorn, yellow-chop grass, beige and brown from pomegranate peels, green paint from copper sawdust treated with sour milk or grape vinegar.
The carpet was woven very slowly, a pattern appeared row by row, and bright gels bloomed on the canvas. Carpet gel (ornament) is not just a sign, but also a complex image-symbol, in which myths and legends about the creation of the universe and man and his relationship with the outside world were embodied. The energy of the carpet can not be expressed in words, but you can only feel it, feeling how the aura of a distant and at the same time close to you person spreads over you, who created it, who spent hours and days above it.
To an outside observer, the birth of a carpet may seem straightforward. But the carpet weaver derives the pattern, often from memory, without a pattern. She instantly finds any thread - yellow or blue - and precisely ties in the right place. Her light hands, as if fluttering, tie knots, here is an elusive movement - the brilliance of a knife - and another thread is cut off from the knot. And these knots need to tie up several thousand more (and the density of some unique samples is over a million nodes per square meter). But the number of nodules is not an end in itself. It is important what kind of internal history a person lives during this time while making a carpet. What he thinks, dreams, what wishes invests. In the artistic structure of the carpet there is no internal conflict, as art critics say, the carpet is a marvelous song, a fascinating melody, music for the eyes. And traditional carpets are like classical music, they remain beautiful for centuries, radiating the light of the soul, warming them with their warmth and protecting them like a talisman.
The Turkmen carpet ornament is a creative matrix of Turkmen art. The basis of carpet ornaments is an eight-pointed star formed from two squares. Such a star decorated the banner of the great ancestor of the Turkmen Oguz Khan, as well as the Great Seljuks. Now it is used in state symbols, and is also one of the favorite decorations of architectural structures erected in Turkmenistan.
As a token of admiration for skilled Turkmen carpet makers, the Turkmen Carpet Festival has been established in Turkmenistan since 1992, which is widely celebrated on the last Sunday of May. Ashgabat houses the National Museum of Turkmen Carpet, which occupies one of the most modern and beautiful buildings in the capital and is a true treasury of folk art and a scientific center. Here the annual exhibition of carpet weaving is held. The exposition of the Museum of Carpet stores unique giant carpets. One of them is the “Golden Age” carpet of 301 sq.m. is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest handmade carpet in the world.
In 2001, the World Association of connoisseurs of turkmen handmade carpet making was created. The association was joined by domestic and foreign manufacturers of Turkmen carpets, entrepreneurs, owners of private collections, specialists and scholars who study Turkmen carpet weaving. Every year they gather in Turkmenistan, bringing up for discussion current issues of development and popularization in the world of this art.
The living and legendary books of the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov “Living Legend” and “Heavenly Beauty”, published in Turkmen, Russian and English, became the anthem of the Turkmen carpet and its creators. These books reveal to the readers the boundless world of images and symbols of the Turkmen carpet, its role in the traditional way of life of the Turkmen, talk about the technique of making carpets and rugs, their decorative principles and techniques, links with national art and literature, and also provide data from archaeological and ethnographic studies , interesting information from historical chronicles and written sources of past centuries.