Magazine article Geographical

Magic Carpets. (Kyrgyz Carpet Makers)

Magazine article Geographical

Magic Carpets. (Kyrgyz Carpet Makers)

Article excerpt

A KYRGY'Z FELT CARPET IS A LINK WITH HISTORY. THESE BRIGHTLY PATTERNED RUGS, ROOTED IN a nomadic culture which is thousands of years old, are thought to be the forerunners of modern carpets. Today, shyrdaks (the most popular form of carpet, made from thick, appliqued felt) and ala-kiyiz (made from pressed felt) are the only traditional decorative art still widely practised in the mountainous Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan. It is easy to understand why shyrdaks were important to the Kyrgyz in the days when they were semi-nomadic herders. Made of felt from sheep or goat wool, they were used as wall-hangings and blankets as well as carpets. Portable, practical and light, they were easy to transport with the yurt, the traditional shepherd's tent. Though the Kyrgyz are no longer semi-nomadic, many still take their herds to the jailoo, the high mountain pastures, in summer. And you can still find shyrdaks in every home, just as you could in each yurt 2,000 years ago. …

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