Antique Tekke Turkoman Mafrash


Antique Tekke Turkoman Mafrash


27 x 70.5 cm


This antique Tekke Turkoman mafrash dates to the early 19th century or possibly somewhat earlier.

Like all the other major Turkoman tribes, members of the Tekke tribe had to provide a set of weavings to be displayed at the wedding ceremony. (For a discussion of another item to be included in the wedding displays, the main carpet, see this website at These weavings included a number of bags of various sizes: a pair of juvals, torbas and, the smallest, mafrash. 

Our example is the typical small size. It has a field design of three by three main guls with accompanying secondary elements interspersed. The weave is extremely fine at 448 knots per square 30mm, and the quality of the wool and dyes is superb. This is in keeping with the requirements placed on dowry pieces: they had to demonstrate the comparative wealth and high social standing of the bride’s family, so the best available materials and skills were employed in their production.

The range of colours, too, is impressive: apart from the dominant red derived from the madder root, there are various shades of blue going into a greenish turquoise, yellow and pink for the silk highlights to be found in the border.

According to Jon Thompson, these small bags were used to contain valuables and other “personal possessions” and were hung up on the inside of the tent ( see his comment on lot 6 in the catalogue to the Sotheby’s auction of Turkmen and Antique Carpets from the Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Jon Thompson, New York, December 16, 1993).

A tribal artefact of this age and condition is a highly collectable work of art.

Wool on a wool foundation, with silk highlights. The mafrash is in excellent condition, but with the plain red border on the sides missing.