Turkmen National Clothers
The formation of Turkmen national costume is connected with climatic conditions, occupation and historical relationship. The traditional Turkmen costume was free and loose clothing that was met all the requirements for the nomadic way of life. The four basic colors of traditional Turkmen dresses are red, black, yellow, and white. Borders of scarves, as well as collars, hems and sleeves of coats are decorated with highly characteristic embroidery.
The basic costume for a Turkmen man traditionally consists of a pair of loose cotton trousers (balaq) and a shirt (koynek). Over these is worn a tight-sleeved robe (don) of striped silk. These garments are held together at the waist with a sash (qusaq). A man’s headgear consists of a small skullcap (bork), sometimes with a turban or a cylindrical, black sheepskin hat (telpek). As for the men’s clothes it was mainly embroidered with images of beautiful animals and birds. For example, flying cranes meant a wish to a man: ” Be free as a bird! ” meaning the freedom of spirit : a real man should be strong, confident and independent.
Women’s costume also consists of straight shirt (dress), pants, a robe and head dress. It remained the national originality of folk costume. The dominant color in the clothing of Turkmen women is red. Woman’s shirt was sewn from red and crimson silk. Street clothes were robes “chabyty” and “chekmeny”, made of dark blue, dark green or red silk fabric with white or yellow stripes. Festive robes were different from luxury embroidery. The main part of a married woman’s wardrobe was a robe “kurte” or “chyrpy”, decorated with rich floral ornaments. Silver jewellery and embroidery are obligatory elements in the Turkmen national dress for women of all ages, children and even man. “Richly jewelled decorations became an established part of costume in the area that is now modern day Turkmenistan a long time ago, probably not less than two thousand years ago. This is clear from terracotta statutes of goddesses from Margiana (from the last few centuries B.C. and the first centuries A.D.), whose costumes were already decorated with many pieces of jewellery similar to those remaining to the present day”. The rich decoration of the headwear is typical for the Turkmen people for whom it is almost the main item of dress. Headwear was created from scarves, scull-caps (for children), shawls and large amounts of jewellery, each piece imbued with a certain significance and use, similar to brooches or pins.
An important element of Turkmen dress, of men, women and children, is the inclusion of amulets. They may take the form of a piece of cloth enclosing a text, which is sewn onto a garment. Such a text is usually taken from the Koran. Other amulets take the form of bracteates with a specific shape or with an impressed or engraved text. The amulets are meant to protect the wearer against the evil eye, diseases, evil spirits, and other negative influences.