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Anatolian Black Tents

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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anatolian nomad black tentClockwise: carding wool on a wooden carding comb with iron spikes to clean the wool and parallel fibers prior to spinning; preparing tulum peyniri, sheep's milk cheese preserved in a specially preserved goatskin; spinning wool for a kilim using a kirman (spindle) with a crossed wood whorl; not shown a woman is sewing a dress for her daughter on a much prized hand-driven sewing machine. Instanbul Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art. Image by L. M. Clancy. Instanbul Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art. Image by L. M. Clancy.

Anatolian Black Tents are woven of goathair by female nomads or urban centers' male weavers. Women set up and dismantle the tents. It takes about an hour to unload the camels, erect the tent and arrange the inside. After this the women can dutifully continue: baking bread; preparing food; making clothes; spinning; milking; etc. An average tent is 5-6.5 m long and 4-5.5 m wide, supported by 3 poles; larger tents require 4 and exceptionally 5 poles. The top is made of 75-80 cm sections sewn together. The sides are attached to the top by wooden or metal pins. Inner reed screens keep out wind and dust. The front and right side can be lifted for ventilation.

Possessions are stored in alacuval, woven sacs with vertical sumac weave decoration. Alacuval are piled at the rear of the tent as a comfortable and attractive wall for visitors to lean against. Alacuval are oft woven in pairs for loading onto camels. Sumac weave styles are Alyanak, Göklüaya and Kirkbudak. Spatial arrangement is strongly conserved.



Kitchen and food storage.


Bedding and then alaçuval sacs, forming a single row.


Usually kept free. Occasionally storage space.


Kept free, except in evenings when there is often a fire and tea kettle.


Bedding covers the whole center in the evening.