Sketches From the Steppes of Central Asia

Monograph portfolio

Compiled by Annette and Volker Rautenstengel with contributions by Peter Alford Andrews, Siawosch Ulrich Azadi and Richard Isaacson

Published by Annette Rautenstengel Verlag
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Portfolio box edition limited to 150 hand-numbered copies: Nos 1–10 linen (price on application)
Nos 11–150 cardboard (€350 plus shipping)
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Book Description

This portfolio displays contributions compiled, drawn and written by five internationally recognized experts providing data on a vanishing world of Central Asian nomadic life.

Materials derived from relevant historical sources or original research are published on large folded pages accompanied by maps, engravings, and photographs from travelogues written in bygone centuries, and by architectural drawings of tent constructions and photographs depicting tent types of Türkmen nomads along with fieldwork results offering valuable data on the weaving culture of Türkmen nomads collected in the 20th century.

While Part I presents research results derived from historical sources and fieldwork, Part II provides insights into early photographic documentation of Central Asian nomadic life and new research results on its influence on 19th century art.

A discussion of recent Türkmen linguistical developments throws light onto the terminology and orthography denoting forms of weavings created for the Türkmen tent and those, used by the tribal “Eagle”-göl groups I, II, and III.

This contribution forms a contextual part to the following article offering a differentiation of Türkmen artifacts based on analyses of structures and of systems of ornament characterizing the surviving major and minor pile- and flatwoven items and tent bands made to equip the tenthold of the rare “Eagle”-göl groups I, II and III.

These Türkmen weavings appear to be among the earliest known to us today. The detailed comparison of their structure and ornament is accompanied by large plates, full scale depictions of the reverse of weavings, magnification of microscopic details, and structure tables recording all data in a synoptic presentation. Additionally, 13 large foldouts [entire length:13.00 m] reveal the extraordinary beauty of Türkmen tent bands in full size. These have been printed in a unique way, applying technology never previously used in the carpet literature, showing each warp and knot to emphasise that not all traces of nomadic life in the steppes of Central Asia have been washed away with the tides of time.

Opening this portfolio is like opening a time capsule, offering a glimpse onto cultural developments of past centuries in the steppes, providing impressions from a vanishing nomadic world full of fascinating artifacts revealing an extraordinarily high level of artistic quality in these surviving early works that open up new perspectives to a better understanding of the cultures of anonymous – although not nameless – Central Asian nomads, and partly replace their missing written words.

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