Tekke embroidered asmalyk

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While Turkmen pile weaving has been renowned by collectors for generations, Turkmen embroidery is much less understood. Embroidery, however, was arguably just as crucial to Turkmen material culture and tribal identity. Indeed, it was embroidered cloaks, hats, and other garments that immediately marked the status and tribal affiliation of a Turkmen man and, even more so, woman. This embroidered Turkmen asmalyk camel trapping is the work of a Tekke weaver. Indeed, the vast majority of embroidered asmalyks seem to be Tekke work. Stylized flowering trees are drawn with silk floss against a light yellow ground made from a softly fulled woolen textile. A similar red woolen textile frames the piece and the whole asmalyk is backed with a cotton Central Asian block-printed textile. Alternating indigo and cochineal dyed silk tassels hang from the bottom and sides. All of these materials must have been acquired through trade. As such, it is interesting to consider if embroidered asmalyks such as this piece were seen as even more prestigious by the Tekke themselves than their celebrated knotted pile variants.