Storage Bags

A nomad’s yurt needed to be portable. When the time came to move their herds of sheep. cattle, and horses to greener pastures the structure and all the belongings inside it were dismantled and packed upon horses and camels for the migration.

With the exception of a few wooden storage chests, there was no furniture. Textiles made up most of the furnishings. Felt carpets and handwoven rugs covered the dirt floor; bedding quilts were stacked upon the chests; and storage bags were hung from the lattice framework. Each bag was made for a specific purpose. The largest bags (chuval and torba) were woven like carpets and hung hammock-like. They usually contained the family’s clothing. Smaller bags were used to hold items such as scissors, spoons, coins, and personal items. Small, flat envelope-shaped bags called “bokche” were sometimes used to hold flatbread. Chai khaltas were special little bags that a man’s wife made for him to carry loose tea in. Often beautifully embroidered, a man would take it with him to the teahouse where he was provided with a porcelain teapot of hot water and a drinking bowl. There he could while away the time sipping green tea and chatting with his friends.

UZBEK BAG (ATBBSBNB-134)

Uzbekistan, mid-20th century

7” x 5.35”
Silk and cotton hand-embroidered chain stitch on cotton
Chain stitch embroidered trim
Russian printed-cotton lining
Good condition

Among the most utilitarian (and beautiful) textiles found in Central Asian homes were bags. Every one of them – from large storage and transport bags to small embroidered bags such as this – had a purpose. The woman who embroidered this bag no doubt had a specific use in mind – perhaps it held personal objects, or small household items.
A nice little bag with a light-colored spiraling sun motif on one side mirrored by a dark sun on the other side.

Price: $30.00
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STOCKING BAG (ATSBOTBBNB-120)

USA, circa 1920s

Roller-printed cotton
Red silk satin ribbons
18.5” x 9.5”
Very good condition

Home sewers often made flat cloth bags like this to hold their stockings or handkerchiefs. The floral pattern on this cloth is particularly appealing. It is evocative of a French Provincial look.

Price: $30.00
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NAPRAMACH BAG FACE (ATSBNB-118)

Uzbekistan, c.1960s-80s.

17″ High x 43″ Long
Entirely hand-embroidered in small silk cross-stitches on cotton
Printed-cotton lining (most likely woven and printed in Uzbekistan)
Excellent condition

Traditionally, long storage bags were made of woven wool pile. More recently, the bag face and ends were embroidered on sturdy cotton while the back and bottom were made from coarse, flat-weave striped cotton. The classic octagon gol motifs remained basically the same as on the woven bags. Stylized ram’s horns make up the two inner side borders and small triangles fill each corner – all talismanic motifs.

Called a “napramach” in Uzbekistan, they were placed along the back wall of a yurt or house and when filled with the family’s clothing, formed a base for their stack of bedding quilts that were stacked neatly on top.

This bold bag face is completely covered in small finely executed silk cross-stitches. It would make a striking wall hanging, long cushion, or even a set of three small cushions.

The complete bag would look like the example in the bottom photograph (ATSBSC-115).

Price: $125.00
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TURKMEN BAG (ATBBSBNB-119)

Turkmen, Central Asia. Early 20th century

9.5” x 5.25”
Silk hand-embroidery with very small, white, machine stitches
Handwoven striped alacha
Braided black trim
Good to fair condition – the alacha is soiled

Among the most utilitarian (and beautiful) textiles found in Central Asian homes were bags. Every one of them – from large storage and transport bags to small finely embroidered bags such as this – had a purpose. The woman who embroidered the top of this bag and wove the striped fabric no doubt had a specific use in mind – perhaps it held personal objects, or small household items.

Price: $40.00
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KYRGYZ BAGFACE (ATSBTC-102)

Central Asia. Early 20th century

Central Asia, early 20th century
14” x 11.5”
Silk hand-embroidery on black velvet
Red cotton trim
Backed with undyed, felted sheep(?) wool
Very good condition – one small area of embroidery damage
Illustrated in Silk and Cotton page 226

The embroidery is done in classic Kyrgyz lacing stitch outlined with fine chain stitches. The motifs are classic rams’ horns that serve as talismanic symbols.

The red trim may not be original and the piece probably would have been surrounded by fringe. It would have had a pouch sewn to the back in order to hold small items and hung on the lattice walls of a Kyrgyz yurt.

Price: $60.00
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