The uniqueness of Turkmen embroidery is in the harmonious combination of patterns and colors, creating a variety of themes which reflect the world of the craftswomen.

The wedding attire of a Turkmen bride is inimitable. It is simple and modest in its cut but it is always rich in embroidery, which functions as talismans against the evil eye. Turkmen embroidery is an intrinsic element of the nation’s cultural heritage, the value of which is still recognized and celebrated today.

As it was with Turkmen ancestors, mother taught daughter, and thus the ancient art of embroidery still survives; with techniques and patterns which have been preserved for hundreds of years being passed from generation to generation. A woman’s wedding day is a great event in her life that marks the beginning of a new life and a new family and the attire of a Turkmen bride captures and reflects the sanctity of this moment. According to national tradition, girls would begin work on their wedding dress from an early age, and through this creation each woman tried to capture her individuality, and express her hopes and dreams. Young women would also decorate a head cloth with embroidery, endeavoring to show her best work to demonstrate her craftsmanship and industry.

Following the traditions of their ancestors, brides today still wear the traditional Turkmen dress, however only a few start creating their dresses from childhood. Dresses can be bought or rented and custom made gowns and embroidery are available from seamstresses. This does not take away, however from the magic of wearing the beautifully embroidered gowns, which they do so with delight. The traditional costumes blend the edges between the generations as mothers and grandmothers share the stories of their own weddings.

The dress and head dress that make up the Turkmen wedding attire are made out of traditional silk fabric “Keteni”, which is usually red in colour and decorated with embroidery. The dress seen very little due to the “kurte”, a kind of cape that is worn over the top of the dress. The kurta richly decorated with embroidered patterns, which symbolize beauty, abundance and fertility; and is an integral part of the wedding attire. The beautiful embroidery work on their dresses rivals the creativity of whilst also reflecting the embroidered patterns of ancient folklore. Embroidery patterns are constantly enriched with new elements ideas; however, the traditional artistic basis of balance, composition and color unity still used today.

The kurta with was embroidered in old times followed the more traditional style. It was not too bright and there were several embroidered roundels in the center and a thin fringe on the edge. Today women prefer to have more elaborate and colorful embroidery and their kurta and sometimes the item completely covered in embroidery. Craftswomen can be very particular about ancient embroidery patterns that cherished by our people, however, embroidery is a part of pictorial art and art is the mirror of life. Hence, one can see a blending of the ancient and the modern in the designs used and the abundance of color.

Craftswomen take a great pride I producing a wedding dress for a customer and are careful to choose the correct colors and patterns that reflect the bride and the heritage of the art from.

There are remarkable Turkmen craftswomen living in all corners of Turkmenistan and often they unite in creative groups, enabling them to share their skills and expertise as well as their products. The mastership of such craftswomen allows for the creation of authentic, beautiful and modern items, and encourages the continuation of this rich folk tradition.

Turkmen wedding
Turkmen wedding