Turkmen folk costume (part 1)
If you come to Turkmenistan, then surely pay attention to women’s clothing, which has preserved the national identity of the folk costume. In our time, marked by great successes in the economy and cultural construction of the republic, interest in Turkmen decorative and applied art has revived. And colorful national women’s dresses became fashionable again. With minor changes in accordance with the modern way of life in the republic, they wear a traditional women’s costume, which took shape in the 18th – 19th centuries.
The formation of the folk costume was influenced by climatic conditions, occupation, historical relationships, aesthetic and religious beliefs. Loose and wide clothing perfectly matched the old nomadic way of life of the people. It was convenient to ride and sit on the ground in it, it was cool in the heat, and warm in the cold season.
The male and female costume consists of a straight-cut shirt (dress), pants, a bathrobe and a headdress. Women’s shirt differs from men’s shirt only in length, the shape of the collar and the number of embroidered jewelry. The shirts of women of most Turkmen tribes were made of red, raspberry or maroon homespun silk. Older women wore dark-colored shirt dresses with modest embroidery.
Outerwear for men and married women served as overalls – “chabyty” and “chekmen”, having a straight cut with cuts on the sides and odorless floors. Such dressing gowns were made of dark blue, dark green or red with white or yellow stripes of silk fabrics. A semicircular neckline, sides, hem and side sections were decorated with thin braid.
Expensive holiday robes made of green or red cloth were distinguished by luxurious embroidery. Sometimes on the street or at home in the presence of strangers, women used robes as a cloak over their heads. A very important and indispensable part of the married women’s street wear was a kind of head-dress gown – “kurté” or “chyrpy”. Due to its specific purpose, it is smaller than ordinary bathrobes and has decorative false sleeves. Festive headwear was almost entirely decorated with rich floral ornaments.
The most constant and obligatory part of the headgear of men, girls and children is a hemispherical skullcap made of red tahya silk, embroidered with a small geometric pattern. The hats of married women are very diverse. The most widespread is the “borik”, in shape resembling a truncated cone, turned with its wide end up. It was covered with a bright headscarf with a geometric multi-colored woven pattern at the edges.
Numerous shades of red prevail in Turkmen clothing. This favorite color in Turkmen folk art symbolized the life-giving forces of nature, and he attributed a magical property – to promote well-being, health, childbearing, protect from evil eyes.