BUKHARA

Bukhara (Bokhara) is in the Soviet Republic of Turkmenistan. In the actual town, whose market was once greatly frequented by the caravans, no carpets at all are made. But the town has lent its name to the carpets of the Turkmen nomads, with their special patterns : shallow octagons repeated in rows over the entire surface. It was in the bazaars of Bukhara that the Turkmens sold the carpets woven by the women out on the steppes while the sheep were grazing. Even today, the best carpets are manufactured by the Turkmen tribe living in Russia. These are thin, very evenly knotted, and have two distinguishing shades of color ; on the slightly older carpets rusty brown, and on newer carpets streaks of Cardinal red. For nomad carpets, they have a very elegant and cultured appearance indeed.

These are closely followed by the Yomuds, the branch of the tribe living in Persia. If they fail to surpass their Russian cousins in quality, they do so in their fantasy. Their camel bags and tent hangings display numerous playful variations of pattern. Apart from the octagons known as “gul”, or rose pattern they also display barbed rhombs or bars. The borders are as fine on the Russian carpets, but the short end is extended by an extra border, a sort of tribal mark that can consist of bent combs, crabs, and other objects difficult to identify. The tent hanging or “hatchlin” is called in the native slang “purdah” – the veil with which the women cover their faces. Such a hanging has a character all its own, with a quartered central field without any octagons, and an extremely asymmetrical border. The most characteristic ornamental designs are spurs in the central field, and zigzag lines in the border.

Bukhara carpets are also made in Afghanistan. These are thicker and heavier, with a velour-like surface and the warm red color of Afghan carpets. They are regarded in the trade as high quality Afghans, and referred to as Dowlatabads from the town in which they are made. Cf. p. 50. The “P. Bukhara” or “Pak Bukhara” carpets displayed in many shops are from Pakistan. They have nothing whatsoever to do with the Turkmen carpets. See further under “Pakistani carpets” ,p.129.

The warp and weft threads in Bukhara are of woolen yarn – previously always home – spun and with unnecessarily long fringes. Turkish knots.

The quality grading’s for Russian Bukharas are as follow :

No. of knots per inch                                         5

length breadth No. of knots per sq in

A            20          18            360

B            18           16            288

C            17           12            204

For Yomud Bukharas:

A            19           14            266

B            18           12            216

C            16            8             128