Back to The Nomads Tent: Tents, Trappings and Bags of an ancient way of life.

Saturday 3rd August to Sunday 25th August 2024

Central Asian nomadic tents, trappings, tribal rugs, tent bands, saddle bags, kilims and cushions.

We are all descended from nomads. To live on the land you had to move around to graze your animals, and adapt to seasonal changes for the best crops. How else to do so but travel light! Tents of the types shown here are easily the most eco-friendly homes on the planet. They can be carried on a few pack animals and erected in half a day. An interesting article on the Turkish tent traditions can be seen here.

On display will be an authentic Qashqai Black Tent. Woven from goats hair, it was acquired in Tehran Carpet Bazaar in 2012 and originates from the Qashqai tribes of SW Iran. Such tents are ubiquitous among the Berbers of NW Africa and Bedouins of the Middle East.

A  3m diameter Yurt, loaned to us by  Red Kite Yurts, is one of the oldest types of tent which are still used across Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia and further.

There are an amazing variety of animal trappings associated with nomadic cultures. In this exhibition we have picked out a few examples mainly from Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and India.

Compared, for example, to the wild extravagance of a camel chest band with elaborate netting and coloured tassels, in the West we have a relatively prosaic approach to saddles, and other tack.

Some of the accoutrements for horses, camels and other pack animals involve a wonderful variety of techniques and materials. Wool, cotton, glass and ceramic beads, precious and base metals, shells and other materials are used to serve both functional, decorative and symbolic purposes.

Among the varied and complex techniques applied to animal trappings and the paraphernalia of nomadic life, tent bands are a special category. This exhibition includes a wide variety of styles originating from many different nomadic tribes.

As part of this year's Fringe exhibition we are delighted to include a unique workshop: Yurts, Walnuts and Mulberries: An insight to the Central Asian Nomadic Felted Trellised Tent. This 90 minute workshop will be led by Red Kite Yurts founder Paul Millard and aims to introduce the Nomadic Tent of Central Asia and its place in modern days. There will be a morning and afternoon session to choose from and each session will start with an introduction and slide show, followed by a hands-on yurt assembly experience. For full details and to book a place click here.

Rare Kurdish knife bag, Eastern Anatolia, 83 x 15 cm. 1st half 20th century.
Luri tent band, SW Iran, 580 x 5 cm. warp twined wool.
Yurt design by Red Kite Yurts.