Ersari tent main carpet from Turkmenistan / southern Uzbekistan circa 1870

The Ersari were one of eight or so different tribes of the Turkmen people who inhabited the area that is now part of the independent states of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan prior to the Russian Revolution. They were nomadic pastoralists who have inhabited the steppes of Central Asia for many centuries.

The principal motif in most Turkmen artefacts is the gul, an octagonal medallion repeated in a grid across the field of the rug.

In the 19th century there were seven or eight different Turkmen tribes who used the gul as a kind of totem particularly in their tent main carpets that lay across the back two quadrants of the yurt, the circular felt tent. These guls were also a means to identify the tribal allegiances.

There are a number of early Ersari tent carpets in the auction. Some are in a rather parlous condition after 150 years of floor life but all nevertheless awe-inspiring, beautiful and commensurately estimated.

This main tent carpet belongs to an early group with the composition comprising just two rows of quite large lobed guls and lots of ivory used in the border. It is a rare item in excellent condition.