An engsi (also referred to as ensi or hatchlu) is the name of a small rug that was originally used as door of the turkmen tent, the yurt. It seems a large proportion of the engsis on the market have never seen use as door cover. Even in the 19th century, many were made by the women of nomadic or sedentary Turkmen tribes as valuable tradeable items.
The engsi has the typical quartered design: the field is divided into four panels by a vertical bar panel overlapped by a central horizontal bar. The vertical central bar panel leads to a single arch with a slanted roof at the top end. While the arch has obvious similarities to the mirhab in prayer rugs, opinion seems to converge that engsis were not used for prayer.
This engsi is typical for the production at the end of the 19th century, though small individual details (such as the use of goat hair in the warps and the charming miniaturisation of the geometric border elements at one point in the right border - see image) indicate that this rug is not the result of some organised manufacturing process.
The arrays of the candlebra device in the four field panels can provide a clue as to the age. Earlier pieces like this one have an unequal number of candelabras in adjacent rows, with the candlebras staggered vertically rather than arrayed neatly in columns.
The rug has a wide ashik (ashyk) border, the elem (pile skirt) shows a repeating geometric star ornament.
The engsi measures 4ft.4in. x 3ft.8in. (132cm x 112cm). Nice glossy wool and short dense pile, the typical velvety, soft and flexible handle. As usual in Tekke weaving, the engsi has asymmetrical knotting open to the right, no warp depression. Knot count is ca. 8 knots per inch horizontal x 14 knots vertical, i.e., ca. 112 kpsi. Warps seem to be mostly from greyish goat hair, two passes of weft from very thin brownish wool. Selvages differ between right and left side (looks like it has always been that way): the left is very flat and narrow just two single warp threads overcast with rose and blue; the right selvage forms a single cord from three warp threads, with blue wool overcast.
A palette where obviously red dominates. There are two shades: a more muted slightly purplish shade which is probably madder-based, and a saturated red which might be madder or an early synthetic dye, I am not sure. Other colours include off-white, a very dark and a medium dark shade of indigo, and a beautiful dark blue-green which is used sparingly.
Slight overall wear, more towards the centre. There is a short (two inch) slit in the left border which has been coarsely sewn, damage and loss to top end, crudely secured (see images), slighter loss to bottom elem. In two small areas there is light bleeding of red into the white ground of the double-cross (#) shaped ornaments in the vertical border flanking the candelabra field and in the horizontal cross-panel (see images). The back has some scattered traces of what appears to be white wall paint or gypsum. A little bit of the white suff is also visible at about 2-3 square inches right at the left edge. There is minor (ca 1-2 inch) damage to the right selvage.