HSC outcomes
Textile arts of Central Asia

Historical influences
the life of the nomad
the life of the oasis dweller
recent politics
the textiles of nomadic and setteled people of central asis
textile arts
the influence
take it further
Tekke Turkmen torba
Tekke Turkmen torba

The textile arts of Central Asia are rich in colour, pattern and texture. They reflect many things:

  • cultural differences within the region
  • the lifestyle of nomadic people and oasis dwellers
  • religious beliefs
  • history and
  • geography

Nomadic and settled lifestyles
The people of Central Asia have traditionally followed either a nomadic (pastoral) or a settled (agrarian) way of life. These two lifestyles were fostered by the geography. The north was arid and mountainous, best suited to seasonal grazing. The south was more fertile and hence more settled. Nomads and oasis dwellers were always interdependent. In exchange for nomads horses and animal products, oasis dwellers traded their silk crafts and agricultural products.

History influenced textile arts
Central Asia has a long, complex and often violent history.Through the centre of Central Asia, between China and the Mediterranean, ran the Silk Road (a network of trade routes). Continual interaction took place via these trade routes between raiders and conquerors, traders, nomads and oasis dwellers, resulting among other things in the transfer and blending of ideas, motifs, technology and commodities. This is a primary reason why the textile arts of Central Asia are so rich in colour, pattern, motif and technique.

Contemporary designs
That transfer of ideas, skill and design continues today. Contemporary designs are still influenced by the costume, textile arts and furnishings of Central Asia.

In the newly independent Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the lives and contemporary craft production of the oasis dwellers and those who cling tenaciously to nomadic life continue to be enriched and influenced by the great arts of the past.
(Sumner, 1999: 8)


Department of Education and Training
Case studies developed by the Professional Support and Curriculum Directorate and supported by the Multicultural Programs Unit of the NSW Department of Education and Training in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum
Powerhouse Museum