55 York Street
Morningside, QLD, 4170

Antique handmade, long piled nomad rugs are rare and unique. Primitive Rug reveals the stories of the nomadic people who wandered the deserts and mountains of Central Asia and beyond, leaving behind these woven works of art. In our store you will find an exclusive selection of old, nomad made rugs. 

These primitive hand woven rugs are from the Amu Darya in the north of Afghanistan, Samarkand in Uzbekistan, the Afghan Pamirs, eastern Turkey, Iran, Spain, eastern Europe, and the mountainous regions of central Afghanistan.

Uzbek Rugs.jpg


Shaggy Long Pile Tribal Nomad Rugs

Filtering by Category: Choga

Choga and Chuba a Central Asian Primitive Pieced-Skin Tradition

Robert Cobcroft

A glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, the terminology associated with Central Asian Pieced-Skin Rugs or mats made of animal pelts, skins or hides.

In Bokhara Uzbekistan a "furred robe" was called a Choga, as noted in the 1903 glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases. At the same time in Afghanistan the word Posteen would have been used to describe a "furred robe". While in Tibet the word Chuba described a similar if not more cumbersome garment.

Read More

Afghan Posteen Cloak & Tibetan Chuba Gown Primitive Pieced Skin Winter Warmers

Robert Cobcroft

Late in the Nineteenth Century Western visitors had lots to say about the Primitive skins worn by Central Asian nomads, aristocratic Pashtuns, bandit robber nomads and horse rustling dealers. Dr Susie Rijnhart called them "Ugly sheepskin gowns". The writers of "The People of India" called them "a cloth lined cloak and a most comfortable wrapper". Known in Afghanistan as Posteen, Tibet as Chuba and Eastren Siberian Yakut as Sahynnax In Afghanistan's Pamirs  pieced skin covers are called postak while in the  Southern province of Wardak they are called pashmani. 1

William Woodville Rockhill affords us a view into a past where animal skin Chuba in Tibet were worn by many including, "Woman Wearing Sheepskin Chuba", "Tibetan Boys of Jyade' " and the two hide wearing vagabonds  "Dopi and Dowe". No imported fabrics, silk sheets, high thread counts or Pashmina to keep you feeling fuzzy warm and modern here, just the reality of surviving through to the next day, look at the woman in front of Rockhill's tent she barely has the motivation to meet the day.

Take a tour further North to Siberia and across to Alaska the concept of wearing animal skin clothing continues like a never ending procession through space and reaching back into the mists of history. Locally skinned animals culled from domestic and wild stock, hoof or flipper, land or sea. Taken from your own herd or hunted down then skinned, softened and tailored into your own version of a primitive coat or cover.

The use of needle and thread to bind animal skins to form the final design can be seen on the back of the Kirghiz pieced skin cover from the Afghan Pamirs. The Kirghiz Postak resembles Posteen and Chuba. A common look wherever animal skins are stitched together to create clothing, bedding and flooring.

1. Thierry Girard
Image attributions:
Dopi and Dowe, Two Men in Costume 30 APR 1892 Rockhill, William Woodville Contained in: Photograph collection ca. 1860s-1960s
Description: 1 photoprint 005 in x 007 in Black and white photoprint
Place of creation: Tibet Tsinghai Province/Qinghai Province Shang-Chia Village (Near) China Tsinghai Province/Qinghai Province Shang-Chia Village (Near)
DOE Asia: Tibet: Rockhill Colln 04865500, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Two Boys in Sheepskin Chubas (Wrap Around Garments) 22 JUL 1892 
Rockhill, William WoodvillePhotograph collection ca. 1860s-1960s
1 photoprint 004 in x 004 in mounted on 004 in x 007 in Black and white photoprint on standard card
Place of creation: Tibet Tibet/Jyade China Tibet/Jyade
DOE Asia: Tibet: Rockhill Colln 04865600, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Woman Wearing Sheepskin Chuba (Wrap Around Garment) Outside Tent n.d.
Rockhill, William Woodville Photograph collection ca. 1860s-1960s 1 photoprint 006 in x 008 in mounted on 007 in x 010 in
Black and white photoprint on cardboard mount. Place of creation: Tibet Tibet Namru De/Tengri Nor (Near)
China Tibet Namru De/Tengri Nor (Near)
DOE Asia: Tibet: Miscellaneous 04864400, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Bandit Robber Nomads

Robert Cobcroft

Next comes creeping along a small caravan of camel-mounted Mongolians or Tibetans, clad in their ugly sheepskin gowns and big fur caps........

Primitive Skin Coats

Four men in costume outside tent March 1892

It's as if Dr Susie Rijnhart knew this photograph by William Woodville Rockhill intimately, when she wrote about the nomad caravan in 1895 - Next comes creeping along a small caravan of camel-mounted Mongolians or Tibetans, clad in their ugly sheepskin gowns and big fur caps........Noted as "Chinese who left Lusar with me" The skin jackets and hats worn by each of these men are another version of nomadic tailored animal skins. Previous posts on this blog have shown images of Afghan men cloaked in animal hides. This happy band of hide wearing men were photographed by William Woodville Rockhill probably near Lusar Tibet (Also noted as possibly China / Qinghia Province / Gansu Province)

First account with bandit robber nomads

Near Lusar Tibet 1895 - " Mr. Rijnhart threatened to shoot if they laid hands on a thing. After some further altercation we gave them some cash for catching our mule – Ishinima gave them a mani, or rosary, of great value, and the entire band rode off. Ishinima declared that the Tibetans who had just left us were Tangut robbers, and that they would most assuredly return presently with reinforcements to attack us "1

Dr Susie Rijnhart spent four years with the Tibetans between 1895 and 1899, she is scathing in her description of the Camel Caravan of Mongolians or Tibetans. "The western portion of the province of Kansu, variously denominated by geographers as part of Chinese or Outer Tibet, is known to the Tibetans as Amdo, and the inhabitants are called Amdo-wa. According to Chinese ethnographers the foreign population of Amdo may be divided into two great classes, the T'u-fan, or "agricultural barbarians," who have a large admixture of Chinese blood, and the Si-fan, or "western barbarians," who are of pure Tibetan stock. The Si-fan live, for the most part, a nomadic life and are organized into a number of bands under hereditary chiefs responsible to the Chinese at Sining, to whom they pay tribute. Chinese authors further say that the present mixed population of Amdo is the progeny of many distinct aboriginal tribes, but there are some elements of it that must be accounted for by later immigrations.  On the road one meets groups of merchants, partly Chinese, but bearing a strong resemblance to the Turk and distinguished by a headdress which seems to be a cross between a Chinese cap and a Moslem turban. These are Mohammedans going down to trade in Sining. Next comes creeping along a small caravan of camel-mounted Mongolians or Tibetans, clad in their ugly sheepskin gowns and big fur caps, on their way to see the Amban of Sining, or perhaps going to Eastern Mongolia or Pekin; or one may meet a procession of swarthy faced Tibetan pilgrims returning single file, with slow and stately tread, from some act of worship at Kumbum, to their homes in the valleys north of Sining. The entire western portion of Kansu, so far as its inhabitants are concerned, marks the transition between a purely Chinese population and a foreign people, the Chinese predominating in the larger centers but the villages and encampments being made up largely of foreign or mongrel inhabitants."2

Susie Rijnhart's account and William Woodville Rockhill's image of the men in skin jackets complete another piece of the puzzle of the Primitive Skin Rugs and clothing of Central Asia. So far we've identified the use of Pashmani as shoulder covers, simple skin rugs as used by Kutchi nomads, animal hides used by the hearth fire in Kirghiz yurts, Kirghiz Postak produced for the dowry of the bride, simple shoulder covers from the 19th Century as worn by the horse traders, and the more tailored solution shown in Rockhill's photograph. The use of primitive softened skins covered a wide geographic area and was manifested in many varied forms.

1 Carson Rijnhart M.D.S With the Tibetans in Tent and Temple Fleming H. Revell Company Chicago New York and Toronto 1901 27

1 Carson Rijnhart M.D. loc. cit.

Photographer, William Woodville Rockhill. DOE Asia: China: General: Rockhill Collin 04487900, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution