Treasures of Turkmenistan - Silks
Turkmenistan is the native land of silk homespun fabric called "keteni". Turkmen has been successfully practicing sericulture for many centuries: their homespun fabrics owing to their durability and brightness as was beauty of patterns were really appreciated and demanded. The determining feature of “keteni" is color, which depends on the quality of dyes. In accordance with ancient technologies the fabrics were dyed only by vegetable colors which were distinguished by the brightness of shades, durability and ecological purity. Turkmenistan carpets major color was red which according to national beliefs possesses magic properties, protects from malicious forces; besides, people have always identified red color with everything that is beautiful and cheerful. Red color was especially popular with girls and children.
One of the sources of red paint for Turkmen carpet masters was a plant called madder which grew in abundance on salted lands where other plants could not survive. To receive the tints of dark blue and blue colors Turkmen used indigo. Other dyes were dried pomegranate and onion peels as well as tea.
In order to reinforce the fabric the skilled workers used alum, and for bleaching - potash and ash from coals. Processed, starched and polished to luster "keteni" makes a bewitching impression of a heavenly-made fabric and radiates brilliance and wealth.
The clothes made from "keteni" have been worn both by men and women. But if men's fashion was limited mainly to shirts, women collected a whole wardrobe of dresses and scarves. Dresses made from "keteni" still remain a traditional bride's outfit.
Today like long time ago "keteni" making remains a cottage craft. This work as well as any other manual craft is an extremely laborious and labor-consuming. Turkmen craftswomen until now have been using ancient weaving looms called " tara " which were used in the faraway past thus achieving high quality which amazes with perfection of decorative ornamentation...