Standing on a large hand-woven rug in front of a yurt, a typical nomadic home of Asia, the younger wife of a Turkman is pictured in her resplendent traditional costume. Turkmen women were part of the nomadic world of weaving. Before marriage, they were responsible for making a variety of fabrics to show how much they could contribute to the family’s wealth. They would make covers and hangings, saddlebags and carpets. The luxurious carpets covered the dirt floor of the yurt, a practical matter for keeping out scorpions and other vermin. Turkmen women were skilled producers of beautiful, highly valued woolen rugs. An integral part of nomadic life, rugs were sat on, slept on, eaten on, and displayed on the walls of yurts. The most striking feature of Turkmen carpets was the magnificent red color that was used for the background. The distinctive red dye came from the boiled roots of the madder plant, which grows wild in the desert.


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