An Ancient Decoration of National Costume

18 June 2021

The largescale work is being done in the Era of Might and Happiness, under the leadership of our respected Arkadag, to thoroughly study, preserve and popularise the rich spiritual and material heritage of the Turkmen people. One of its aspects is a detailed study of ancient jewellery as indispensable elements of national costume, magnificent specimens of which are on display at the State Museum of the State Cultural Centre of Turkmenistan. They are exhibited together with unique items of the everyday life of the Turkmen people with a prominent place given to national clothes. These include the elements of one of the most interesting and ancient women’s headdresses in Western Turkmenistan, hasaba. The term comes from the Arabic word meaning “to promote fertility, productivity”. A showcase with this ancient headdress always attracts visitors who do not get tired of admiring the amazing works of Turkmen craftsmen.

The headpiece consists of a high rigid frame covered with red silk, widening upward and flattened in front and behind. The framework of the hasaba is made of several layers of cotton fabric in the form of a cylinder. On the top, the frame is covered with a thin red silk fabric. The stripes of black plisse with gold or silver stamped plaques, carnelian and pendants, arranged in horizontal rows, are sewn on its front and back sides. Women’s temporal jewellery, adamlyk (large massive silver plates in the form of stylised human figures with four long chains descending to the chest) are attached on the sides of the headdress. 19thcentury Russian travellers describe its beauty and wealth in their ethnographic notes. N. Muravyov, who visited Turkmen tribes, living on the Caspian seashore, in 1819, describes a women’s headdress, “…The headdresses of Turkmen women are decorated with gold or silver”.

an art restorer at the Department of Art Reconstruction and Restoration, State Museum, State Cultural Centre of Turkmenistan. Photos: the author