By Samaneh Shahrinejad

An in-depth look at garments of Turkmen people in Iran

November 17, 2019 - 19:41

Golestan province is home to various ethnic groups including Turkmen, Kazak, Katoul, Qizilbash Turk, Baluch, Semnani, Khorasani amongst others. The northern Iranian province enjoys a colorful landscape and different subcultures as well.

The variety of clothing as one of the most important cultural expressions of Golestani tribes is one of the important topics of research and tourism attractions. Different ethnic groups come together in ritual ceremonies with colored clothes and form a beautiful colorful circle. The study of clothing in the regions of Golestan province among the Turkmen people indicates that the climatic, geographical and cultural conditions affected it. This transformation can be seen in the language and lifestyle of the region. In this field research, I aimed to introduce indigenous and local garments of the Turkmen people.

Turkmen natives and local clothing

Turkmen women decorated their clothes with beautifully sewing. In the past, they used simple dresses without decorations in everyday life. The local women's clothing consists of hats, shirts, belts, pants, Qaba, socks and shoes. Turkmen men's clothing includes: head cover, foot cap, Qaba, trousers, lumbar shawls, shirts, overalls, socks and shoes.

In terms of application, ladies' clothes are divided into several categories:

* Working clothes: used for agricultural purposes and for cooking bread and home affairs.

* City clothes: used for going out and buying from the market.

* Ceremonial clothes: they wear these clothes when they take part in the celebration.

* Home clothes: Different depending on the age of the family.

The use of the shape and color is different for the child and the young, male and female. It is even different for the new bride and groom, such that they cover the front of the new bride with curtains that are fitted with chicken feathers, beads and colored fabric pieces to protect him from eye sores, and wrap her waist with green scarf for good luck.

Girls wear hats before they are married, all of which is covered with silk fiber, and when they come to the feast and celebration, they will put jewelry named of Qupe on it, and when they want to marry, they take off their hat and Qupe and they wear a sarband with another form. At weddings and celebrations, they wear new clothes and use more jewelry, and the beauty of dresses will be doubled with colorful sewing and different shapes.

Turkmen local clothing is seen in Bandar Torkman, Aqqala, Gonbad-e Kavus, Kalaleh and in the surrounding villages.

Women's clothing components:

- Shirt: A red silk shirt called "Quinoc", which is made of handmade silk cloth with red, yellow, and black striped lines. The collar is round and slotted to the chest for girls, and taller to the abdomen for mothers. The sleeves are tall and the height of the shirt is up to the ankles. Mostly, they weave around the sleeves and collar with colorful silk fibers. They wrap under the neck of the collar with a round flower, with gold or silver, embroidered with turquoise. The fabric of the shirt is considered to be appropriate for the season. In the summer, it is made of cotton cloth, and in winter, it is made of cloth and silk, but there are more pieces and sometimes some dresses are worn over, in the winter the dress is tighter and in the summer it is looser.

Chavut (Chabit, Shawut): A kind of long sleeved or short sleeved open front cloth, that besides the sewing in the front and side of the slot, there are some jewelry woven on it, and depending on the status of family, the jewelry is of gold or silver. They wear it at parties and festivities.

In silk cloths, to protect the fabric from wearing out in contact with sweat, they wove a piece of fabric between sleeve and the cloth and sometimes they changed it, and in this way the whole cloth won’t get hurt.

- Charvod: A dress similar to a women's coat used in winter. Its cloth is made of colorful velvet.

- Chikmen (Chuckman): A woolen dress that is of two types: the Inche Chakman (thin Chakman) and the Yogin Chakman (Thick Chakman).

- Kurte: A long dress that is actually a type of scarf and thick winter coat with a lot of shapes woven on it. It looks like a jacket that women put on of the sides of it over their heads.

Chourbi (Cherbi, Serbi): A raincoat that has a long sleeve attached to each other, without a collar and a button that women put it on like a chador. Unlike the Kurte, Chourbi does not have any space between the motifs.

Belt: Women wear a belt called "Ghoshaq" made of silk. Clamping this shawl on the shirt will cause the shirt to be shorter and not bother the women. In addition, it is healthy for the waist and abdomen.

Trousers (Balaq): The upper part of the trousers is made from a cotton fabric and a section that appears underneath the shirt is made of silk with linen and different and colorful shapes sewn on it. The edges of the fabric are sewn to the inside of the leg with a tied black or girly strand called "Jahak" so as not to fade due to friction. In the past, the pants were tied up with a strap and the genus was cotton and handmade, and they were called Uchqer.

Socks: Turkmen women, like most women in Iran, weave colorful wool and silk socks for themselves and their men, and sometimes they sell them to the market. In the past, they used “Dolaq” instead of socks. Dolaq was a cloth that was wrapped around their feet.

Shoe: In the past, they wore black rubber shoes imported from Russia, but now they use shoes in the market. There was a kind of heeled shoes called "Uk Jeli Kevesh". There were shoes from the residents of Jajarm which called "Garmehei" and it was made of leather.

Men's clothing components:

- Shirt: Men's shirt with a simple sleeve and trim, normal height and round neck and without turning back. At the side of the neck, it closes with the button and the slot of the shirt is placed on the right side of the chest.

Another kind of plain shirt is without collar and button with a long sleeve, and a strap is used instead of the button, and was called a "Sep Jeqe".

- Qaba: Turkmen men's clothing, a simple dress without turned collar with long sleeves (without a sub-jacket), instead, at the ends of the sleeves and the upper part of it there are some slots, and the two sides are placed over each other. It is held with a brace or a wide leather belt. Fabrics used in this cloth include:

* Qermez don: Silk fabric with red background and yellow lines.

* Aqli don: red silk fabric with white and black lines.

* Sari don: A cream colored wool cloth called "Chukman".

- Fur: In the winter, men use Fur or sheaths called "Ichmig". The best type of Fur is “Baqana Ichmig” which is made from the skin of a one-month-old lamb. The other types of Fur are from the skin of 5 to 6 months old lambs and after tanning with a variety of natural substances it turns to yellow.

- Don: A plain, non-collar or collar outfit, with long sleeves and the ends of the sleeves and upper parts have slots. Both sides are placed on top of each other and are firmly fixed with a brace and sometimes with a leather belt.

- Chatal: Light clothing that was used by men during the war.

- Kuzet Bijim: They are also known as Chabit. A dress with wide, very tight sleeves that reaches to the knee. The sides of the dress has a cut and it has pocket from inside.

- Chuckman: A top-dressed like men's overcoat. This cover is of two types: Inche Chukman and Yoqin Chukman, both of which were made from camel wool.

- Ichmik: Winter furs or sheaths that were of three types: Silkme Ichmik, Buqane Ichmik, and Kar Ishchi Ichmik. It has a long, tight sleeveless sleeve that reaches to the knee.

- Benafje: A winter coat without sleeves which is black and they put on like cape.

Trousers: Mostly were made of black cloth, and its cut was like a woman's trousers, with the difference that the cloth was cut in whole and the margin of the top was very simple. Men called the under wear pants "Balak", and the top trousers were called "Jolbar".

Foot covers (Balaq Chik - Dolaq): The rich men were more likely to travel with horses, and wear this on the trousers around the wrists and legs. In this way the loose pants were tightened and the leg was comfortable in stirrup. Farmers and shepherds also wore this to the wrists and legs.

Waist Shawl: In the festivities and parties, a belt called "Sotok Shaq", which was made from goat's wool was wore around the waist. In the summer, they used a shawl called "Yashil Kutuni - Keteni".


Shoes: Farmers and shepherds wore a kind of leather shoes called "Choqi or Choqai". Ghezelbash Charagh was also a leather shoe that covered the legs underneath the shin, and was fasten in crosswise form by a narrow leather band. This kind of fastening the lace was called "Artanaq" and they believed that they had come from the Persians.

- Boots: The main footwear of the Turkmen men are long leather boots that have been turned upside down and are also called “Kosh”. “Adik” is another kind of boot.

- Charoq: The most common type of men's shoes that were made from raw leather of a camel or cow. It was usually used in the cold season.

- Yalqan (Chapak - Yelkan): A summer footwear that is made from camel leather. It has three holes, one on top and two on the flanks, and a band passes through them and tightens it by knitting.

Color in Turkmen folk garments

In different regions of the Golestan province, Turkmen women have special customs for their silk fabrics during the dyeing process. Such that the person who carries out the dyeing process should have these features: to be skilled in the work, to be honest, to have chastity the dyeing stages (this is also true during the silk weaving process). Each nation gives specific meanings to colors, and these particular meanings do affect the use of various colors in different clothes. The use of red in the dress of the Turkmen women, which is the dominant color in most women's clothing, gives them a sense of freshness and vitality. The red color in the eyes of the native woman is a sign of heart and fire, which brings youth and life for the elderly women.

 In many localities in Iran, different colors and decorations are considered for different age groups. Since indigenous Turkmen women throughout the Golestan Province, work both at home and also work outdoors together with their husbands in livestock and farming, they need to have a double strength, some of which they get from their clothes.

The Turkmen women believe that the use of red color makes it possible for other colors to be used and decorated on clothes. For this, the red color is the base color and other colors like yellow, blue, green and silver are decorative colors. The red color has been seen as the dominant color in most indigenous clothing of other women in Iran, such as Khorasan and Semnan. They have a spiritual value for this color, this color gives them joy and vitality.


One of the tools of cultural recognition of societies is dress. Each item of clothing, material and color of the fabric, the design and pattern of the sewing of clothing, and their adornments symbolize different concepts. The garment represents its political, economic, religious, and occupational status, and determines the status and position of the person in different social groups. Therefore, the study of the people of a tribe and the study of the language and culture of the clothes of its people and society in the present and past, and the evolution and historical transformation of the types of clothing and their impact and influence are valuable in the researches of social sciences, specially to anthropology. In a more comprehensive view, Turkmen folk anthropology can be categorized into three categories:

A) The basis of beliefs: For example, latency is one of the characteristics of apparel due to social and cultural status.

B) Environmental and climatic factors that take into account the material and type of clothing and even the sewing, clothing components and materials.

C) Social conditions and relationships such as type and way of livelihood, traditions, and ceremonies are among the factors affecting the type and quality of clothing.


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