Saddle Bag with Turkmen Gul Motifs
ArtistBaluch, Northern Afghanistan (Afghan)
DimensionsWork : 44 3/4 x 18 in. (1.1 m x 45.72 cm)
Credit LineGift of Verne Trinoskey and Paula Armintrout Trinoskey
Gul are stylized flower motifs that often appear in Turkish and Turkmen weavings, sometimes functioning as emblems of specific tribal or clan identity. The Baluch woman who wove this saddlebag with a gul motif may have done so because she saw a similar design on another weaving and wanted simply to copy it. Or she might have woven the gul design into the bag to make it more saleable in the commercial marketplace, especially if it was to be sold in northern Afghanistan or Turkmenistan where many Turkmen people live. It is also possible that the weaver—or one of her female ancestors—could have been a Turkmen woman who was married into a Baluch tribe and brought the design with her. Design motifs are very fluid and can be copied by people of different ethnic backgrounds across a wide geographical range, so it is more reliable to identify textiles on the basis of weaving techniques and materials rather than design.