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The Glory of Tent Bands – Hybrid Textile Art

June 30, 2015 2 min read

Who says works of art must follow rules?

Could there be crossovers? Fusion of techniques? Fusion of Styles? Sure – why not.

Why would it be done? Simply because the artist felt like it. No other reason!

One fine day someone must have deviated from the norm and experimented. She must have moved away from the common weaving idea of the time and then maybe a few others liked it and adopted it. And then over time, the experimental idea became the norm.  Evolution!

Whether these are the exact steps that led to the creation of hybrid textile art forms of a pile decorated flatweave, we will never know.

But today we are regaled with the legacy of a range of flatweaves decorated with pile, mostly the Tent weavings of Central Asian.

The first time I noticed how spectacular these were, was at the exhibition ‘From Ashgabat to Istanbul’*.

Textile Museum of Canada - Ashgabat to IStanbul - Oriental Rugs from Canadian Collections

Textile Museum of Canada - Ashgabat to IStanbul Exhibition - Oriental Rugs from Canadian Collections - Photos & review by Jaina Mishra

Such fine pile weaving in parts of the flatweave.

Then as my sight evolved I noticed tent bands – where the piled sections themselves created a pattern on the flatweave.


Each tribe had its own signatures in terms of colors, weave and patterns that they adopted for the pile portions. And the amount of analysis that has gone on in the forums into the subject of attribution and fixing the origin of the textile is astounding!  Quite obviously this means that the mystique of these textiles has captured and held the interest of collectors and academics for a long time!

Another tent band from a different people group that has been made into a rug:

Antique Karakalpak Tentband Rug



The reformatting of the tent band into a rug appears to be similar to this one from ‘The Karakalpak Rug Collection of the Museum of Oriental Art Moscow [published in the Oriental Rug Review]



Novelty, diversity, variety – they say – is the spice of life. There is no doubt that finding a new category or form of textile art is so stimulating! So much to learn about, so much to look at, so much more to enthrall and entertain the mind and the soul!

Cheers to all the textile art that I have yet to discover!



As I crawl the web for information, I came across the work of very admirable couple who have dedicated as many as 15 years of their lives to studying the culture of  parts of Central Asia! 15 years! They have published their work not only in a book but also on the web for all of us to benefit from.

A huge round of applause for David & Sue Richardson! A link to their awesome website Karakalpak.com.


June 2015

*  ‘From Ashgabat to Istanbul’.

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