Turkmen Goklen Rugs & Carpets
History / Background
Far to the south of the Chodors, but still in the vicinity of the Caspian, come the Goklans. These are, for the most part, subjects of Persia, dwelling along the banks of the Gurgan River, but some of them are to be found across the Atrek in the Sumbur region. Vambery computed them at twelve thousand tents, or at sixty thousand persons at the least. Mr. Schuyler gives them only a fourth of that number, but as very little is yet known of this portion of the Persian frontier it is impossible to affix accurately what the number of the Goklans may be. They are a settled people, carrying on agricultural pursuits, and the breeding of the silkworm; and they give the Persian authorities little trouble.
The Goklen are agricultural, settled, and the sost peaceable and civilised of the Turkoman; dwell in the rich country about Garjan ; most of them are Persian subjects. They have ten clans, and about 10,000 tents.
Most turkmen are Hanafi Sunni Moslems but part of the Yomud and all of the Goklen are Shia Moslems.
“A difficulty with bazaar observations is the possibility of mistaken attribution. Such is not a problem for on site accounts. Two rather interesting observations involve the sedentary Goklen who occupied a small area within Persian jurisdiction. Here Fraser in 1825 remarked on the weaving of both felts and carpets.8”
Yate, however, in 1894 described a different situation:
“The interior of their kibitkas was even dirty too, and they had none of the cleanliness and fine carpets and wall-bags of the Tekkes and Sariks… The Goklans did not appear to me to be such an industrious race as their brethren the Tekkes or the Sariks. They made no carpets, and only a few coarse rugs. Felts apparently were their only manufacture….9”
Since the 16th century at least there have been Turkmen in the Gorgan and Astrabad area. The major tribes are the Yomut and the Gocklen. When it comes to differentiating between the two I am unclear if there is anyway to tell the difference. I do fell however that we can differentiate between Persian Turkmen and those Turkmen of even the same tribe from Turkmenistan. In this saddle rug we have an overall “bright” tonality. The red is brighter then I expect in most Yomut pieces. There is also the white diamond border which is one that I equate with a Persian attribution.
Goklen Torba circa 1880 from Ron Hort
This is a Goklen torba woven about 1880 in Turkmenistan.
Small Eagle Group II Goklen Rug circa 1860 from Nomad
Condition / Description: This little Kepsi gol (wedding?) rug is a relative of the early kepsi gol main rug. It is also a sub group, in that it has an asymmetric knot woven on cotton warps; whereas normally, the “Eagle Group” rugs have cotton wefts. This rug has brilliant shinny wool and colors and an intense rose-red that you see on Tekke and Salor weaving of the mid 19th century. The rug is in excellent condition , having good pile, original kelims, and only a few small holes rewoven.
Antique Yomut or Goklen Saddle Rug
Small Rare Goklen Rug early 19. C
Rough Translation: A piece in a rare, obviously woven by the Göklan Turkmenen, small format, which like a main carpet in miniature works. Large graphic precision and darkly glowing colors distinguish all early carpets of this tribe. – Right edge incompletely, on the left of remainders of the original selvage received, ends reduced, some restored places, age and areas of wear.