Turkmen DanceDSC_0160 (Small)

Location: Turkmenistan

The most distinguishing feature of the Turkmen costume is the tall, pointed, bridal headdress, covered with metal ornaments, that resembles a warrior’s helmet. The dresses and coats also used to be covered with large metal decorations, which were strategically placed, and also resembled armor. These traditional costumes were extremely heavy. The only piece of decorative metal that most modern Turkmen dancers still wear is the pectoral ornament called “Shelpely Gulyaka,” or “Neck Flower.” The silk fabric called Khetene, which is woven by the Turkmen women, is very narrow and has trim woven right onto the edges. The fabric is actually too narrow for the construction of the traditional dresses they wear, so many of the dresses are pieced together asymmetrically.