THE FELT RUGS OF KYRGYZSTAN
Felt rugs have very ancient origins (3rd millennium BC) and were born thousands of years before knotted or loom woven rugs.
Felt rugs originate mainly from Central Asia, especially the nomadic populations of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, who could easily transport them being light, even if very resistant. These rugs were, in fact, used by nomads to isolate and adorn their “yurts”, keeping these mobile homes warm in winter and cool in summer.
Among the felt rugs, the Shyrdak rugs from Kyrgyzstan are very famous, and in 2012 they were included in the Unesco list of intangible cultural heritage.
For each medium-sized Shyrdak rug, wool from four or five sheep is used. Originally the wool, after being carefully cleaned, was moistened with hot soapy water and then rolled up in a mat and wrapped in a cloth. Then the roller was rolled over and over again, even attached to a horse, so that the fibers could bind to each other. The wool was then worked by hand until a homogeneous and compact felt fabric was obtained, with closed edges.
In the Shyrdak felt rugs, two felt panels of different colors are superimposed and carved according to ancient designs, in order to insert the carving of one color in the empty space of the other. After obtaining a perfect fit, the various parts are then sewn together with a braided cord. The whole is then laid, stitched and quilted on a felt base which gives greater solidity to the carpet.
Even today, Shyrdak felt rugs are handcrafted by Kyrgyz women. These rugs should never be missing in a Kyrgyz woman’s wedding dowry, so mothers and grandmothers make these rugs as wedding gifts, inserting well-wishing designs and motifs.
In fact, the decorative motifs of the Shyrdak, as well as their colors, have a precise symbolic meaning and draw inspiration from the world of plants, animals and geometric shapes. We can find the symbol of the mother hugging the child (“umai”), the vortex of water which indicates renewal, the motif of the dog’s tail which symbolizes friendship or that of the ram’s horns which indicates abundance and many others.
In our online shop you can find wonderful Shyrdak felt rugs handmade in Kyrgyzstan, just click below.
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