The Turkmen, centered mainly in modern Turkmenistan, are also settled in Northern Afghanistan and Northeast Iran. When Czarist Russia extended its rule into Central Asia in the late nineteenth century, the nomadic existence of the numerous tribes in the region was brought to an abrupt end. Their forced settlement obliged them to adapt to a life focused more on agriculture than on the breeding of livestock.


During the process of change, numerous woven objects associated with the Turkmen’s tent-dwelling past flooded the market and were shipped to the West, where they were used as scatter rugs, cushions, and even upholstery. As people in the West became aware of the austere beauty Turkmen weaving, a process of study and learning began as to the tribal origin of the numerous objects that survive from their nomadic past and it continues to this day.