Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1881 Turkmen alaman

Subjectalaman slave raider
Culture: Turkmen
Setting: frontier raiding, western Turkestan 19thc

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources. Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Kalter 1983 p26
"[Since the 16th century, the Turkmen] have been living as stockbreeders (nomads or semi-nomads) or as sedentary farmers, having no more political importance, but being an element of constant disturbance for their sedentary neighbours in Iran, the Khanate of Khiva, and also the Emirate of Bukhara.  ...  [T]heir much-dreaded alaman-raids which yielded not only the animals and valuables of the assaulted, but also, as their most important booty, slaves, had become a more profitable source of livelihood during the 19th century than the yield provided by agriculture.  In the frontier areas of North-East Iran alone, the Turkmen are supposed to have captured a million slaves during the 19th century."

* Hopkirk 1992 p126-127
"The [Karakum] caravan and pilgrim trails ... were regularly raided by Turcoman slavers. ... The aged and those who resisted were immediately killed, while the strong and the beautiful were carried off to be sold in the slave markets of the khanates."  

* Bennett 1998 p324
"Turcoman (or Turkman) nomadic pastoralist Turkish inhabitant of Central Asia, a member of an unruly and intractable group which continued to harass its settled neighbours by slave-raiding, sheep-rustling, caravan-looting, and the disruption of agriculture by the pasturing of flocks on arable land until conquered by the Russian Empire in the second half of the 19th century."


* Burnes ed. Hopkirk 2012 p214-215 (writing in 1835)
"I wondered at the collection of so many rising plunderers.  Seeing the Toorkmuns in a body, it may be certainly distinguished that they have something Tatar in their appearance: their eyes are small and the eyelids appear swollen.  They are a handsome race of people.  All of them were dressed in the 'tilpak', a square or conical black cap of sheepskin, about a foot high, which is far more becoming than a turban, and gives to a party of Toorkmuns the appearance of a soldier-like and disciplined body.  The Toorkmuns are very fond of bright-coloured clothes, and choose the lightest shades of red, green and yellow as the patterns of their flowing 'chupkuns', or pelisses.  

* Kalter 1983 p81 Ill.63
"Turkestan men's coats. ... Striped cotton fabrics are preferred by Turkmen..."

* Nomads of Eurasia 1989 p119
"A devotion to robes made of striped fabrics with little metal ornaments, usually from silver, sewn onto them was a general trait among the peoples of Turkestan and Kazakhstan.  Richness of fabric and ornament in clothing and the number of garments worn marked social rank.  A rich belt with accessories was a sign of high social status for men.  Dress for ceremonial occasions was not marked by variation in style; instead, color and a fixed combination of garments marked the costume's function. ...
    "[...]  Distinctive traits of the male costume included suede trousers with chain-stitch embroidery for the warriors and young men and a belt, the kemer, with metal plaques sewn on leather or thick cloth."

* Harrold/Legg 1978 p109
"The famous Karakul sheep are bred in Turkmenia and their grey, black or brown wool is used extensively in the making of costumes. 
    "[...] Men wear tight-fitting black or brown trousers tucked into high black boots.  A dark-coloured, long-sleeved shirt in grey, brown or black is usual, although a white or red shirt is sometimes worn.  Shirts have round necks with an opening on the right side, and are embroidered.  The shirt is worn outside the trousers and a brightly coloured sash is worn with it. 
    "A very large, sheepskin hat in white or brown is worn.  Sometimes a loose, three-quarter-length coat, similar to the Uzbek khalat, in two-colour stripes is worn over the basic costume."

* Evans 1938 p274
"In Turkestan, Central Asia, dwell the Turkmen, a people of Mongolian origin with as strong a love for color as any people of the Orient.  And it is the men who are decked in the gayest of striped orange, green, and red tchapans, long, loose gowns of silk or cotton, padded and quilted, that rival the bright dresses of the women.  Both sexes wear baggy, white cotton trousers to which the men add a long shirt whose sleeves show plainly under the extremely large ones of the tchapan; a skull-cap richly embroidered; a turban, or a round cap of lamb's or sheep's wool; and shoes with high heels and the pointed toe so customary in the East.  A brilliant scarf is wound several times around the waist.  For warmth in winter many tchapans are donned, one over the other, with one lined with fur when means permit."

* Kalter 1983 p85
"The only noticeable difference between Turkmen and town-dwellers was in their headgear.  The large sheepskin hats of the Turkmen can be characterised as the sign of male tribal dress."

* Sichel 1986 p55
"The men's shirts are usually dark in colour, embroidered around the neck and opening on the right side.  They are worn outside tight-fitting black or brown trousers with a brightly coloured sash around the waist.  The trousers are tucked into high black boots.
    "In winter they wear a characteristic long-sleeved quilted coat, usually tied around the waist with a narrow band.  Extremely large white or brown sheepskin hats may also be worn with loose three-quarter length striped coat."


* Kalter 1983 p89
"The most important ceremonial weapon was the dagger, which the elegant man stuck in his belt.  Daggers were housed in silver or silvercoated, or among the Turkmen, partially fire gilded sheaths."








* Ghose 2016 p132
"Amulets were used by every ethnic group in Central Asia, and their appearance and the way they were worn was consistent throughout the region.  They differed only in their technique of execution and decoration, and the names by which they were known.  The most widespread types were rectangular, cylindrical, or triangular.  This included the Kazakh tumarsha and boytumar, the Uzbek and Tajik tumar and bozbend, the Turkmen tumar, and the Karakalpak and Turkmen kheikel.  These forms themselves already possessed a sacral meaning.  The triangle represented the three levels of the universe (lower, middle, and upper) and symbolized the feminine.  The cylinder was associated with the phallus and thus with the masculine.  Together with the triangle, it symbolized the concept of fertility.  Rectangular-shaped amulets were protective by virtue of being closed off on all sides.  Amulets were worn on the chest, thrown over the left or right shoulder, or sewn onto clothing or headdresses.  Often, to increase their protective powers, they were worn in pairs."

* Diba 2011 p