Rare Old Turkmen ‘Gulyaka’
This gulyaka (also guljaka) is worn by Yomud Turkmen women as a button at the collar, and indeed the term ‘gulyaka’ means “flower at the collar.” Many designs and their symbolism in Turkmen jewelry and textiles are pre-Islamic, but this example is unusual for the Arabic script embossed on each petal that says “Allah.”
It also has the typical red, blue and green glass used in the region, as well as very worn fire gilding over silver, tested though an exact purity cannot be determined. This gulyaka was made in the Turkmen Sahra region of Iran, and collected in Iran. There are still Turkmen silversmiths there, in Gonbad Kavus, although we are not sure if the gulyaka is still a popular ornament.
This piece shows a lot of age and wear, with some damage to the metal work and the central glass is cracked. It is, however, a rare design and would be a meaningful addition to a collection. Priced accordingly.
Some examples of Yomud gulyakas can be seen in The Arts and Crafts of Turkestan; Johannes Kalter; p.99, and worn by Turkmen women across Turkmen Sahra in Turkman of Iran; Nasrollah Kasraian and Ziba Arshi, pp. 72,75. 112,115,128, 129, 166, 170, 173
Size: 3.75″ x 0.75″ / 9.5cm x 2cm
Weight: approximately 58 grams