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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

The Turkmen Storage Bag

de Young Museum / San Francisco / Art

“My nation is united and is veins of tribes,” rings the Turkmen national anthem, “Turkmenistan, light and song of soul.” The Turkmen people were nomadic and semi-nomadic until the 20th century, and as with so many tribal nomads the woven carpet was a mainstay of their transitory homes. The classic Turkmen rug is recognizable by its octagonal gül motif, intricate geometries, and a narrow palette of rich reds, golds, dark blues, and browns. The Turkmen also made storage bags that held clothes and belongings during travel. These bags, called chuval or juval, are rare. Here is a focused show of nine exceptional Turkmen storage bags representing five subgroups. —L.J.

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de Young Museum 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
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