The Turkmen are an ethnic group first identified in Central Asia during the 10th century that began as a nomadic culture. Over time, the Turkmen began to settle more collectively, and in the late 1800s, the Turkmen region was divided among Afghanistan, Iran, and the former Soviet Union. In the 1990s, the independent Republic of Turkmenistan was founded. For centuries, the Turkmen have maintained a cultural identity distinct from their Central Asian neighbors which can be seen in the particular textile traditions of knotted carpets, silk production, and embroidery.
Embroidery plays an important role in the lives of Turkmen women who often gather together as they work and showcase their skills and creativity while discussing their life experience. The colors and motifs used in embroidery differ slightly across Turkmenistan’s provinces, but the use of stylized floral and geometric designs is common to all. The traditional dark red present in all provinces comes from the madder plant. Some embroidered objects are created because they promote health and good fortune specifically for children and women of child-bearing age.
The colors in these pieces offer protection from the evil eye Red, yellow, black and white are the regional colors for the Meredova family. They are from the Ahal Province which is located in central/southern Turkmenistan.
This purse and bracelet show innovation in the tradition by adapting them to a new format. Such a change makes it easier to consume the tradition at small scale, appealing to tourists and those who want to carry a piece of Turkmen culture with them.