Turkmen-style needlework art


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Inscribed in 2022 (17.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Nazarov Maksat Tachmuradovich, Turkmenistan, and Iranian Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts (IMCHTH), 2021

Turkmen-style needlework is a decorative applied art used on the national dress of people of all genders and ages in Turkmenistan and Iran. In both countries, Turkmen-style needlework begins with the preparation of thin silk threads that are intertwined in three layers and twisted into a single thread, then straightened with a large needle. This unique technique gives the thread a shine. For the most common needlework style, a series of loops are created by piercing the fabric with a thin needle and holding the previous loop with the thumb of the other hand. There are also other needlework styles that vary according to the region. There is no age limit, and young girls traditionally learn the needlework from their mothers and grandmothers. In rural areas, the patterns used reveal the territorial identity of the needlewomen. They are also used to symbolize love, friendship, nature and strength. The needlework is used on wedding clothes, in clothing for funerals and cultural events, and as decorative parts of ordinary clothing, such as scarves, coats, pants, shawls and accessories.