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KURAK

  Patch works are widely spread in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyz kurak is highly developed applied art which reflects nomadic style of life. For patch works use various materials, it could be cotton, velvet or leather. There are also various styles of Kurak, which represent skills of masters, traditions of different regions of Kyrgyzstan, and complexity of composition (squares, triangles, stripes etc.): Kattama kurak - small stripes of various colours; Boru koz - the eye of wolf; Kara koz - black eyes; Kerege koz - lattice eyes etc.

  Using Kurak techniques produce wall hangings and panels - Tush-Kiyiz, blankets - toshok, shelving - tekche, bags and sacks - ayak-kap and other things useful in housekeeping.

  Tush-Kiyiz - is a wall hanging or wall panel. Originally Tush-Kiyiz was used in yourts where they were used.

  Most of Kyrgyz handicrafts are made of felt, Tush-Kiyiz, however, are not made of felt but consist of a cloth background onto which is sewn a montage of bright designs. There are no identical, or even similar Tush-Kiyiz in nature. It is usually sewed by grandmother for a young married couple. Some of them have the names of the couple, sometimes the name of maker, or some special dates if dated to smth., - sewn into them. A base or background of soft cloth is used, and onto this is sewn in relief, to create a montage, what are apparently abstract realisations of natural things, such us plants, flowers and rarely animals and people.

  There are actually two types of Tush-Kiyiz. Some are large and one of this type would cover much of a wall. With this type, the middle of the wall panel is non sewn work but is made only of the original material base. The sewn montage work appears around the edge, like a fringe, although triangular shaped pieces of it will protrude towards the middle of the panel. The triangle is called Tumar in Kyrgyz, and since time immemorial was considered as amulet. Visiting a Kyrgyz home, the one can see large types hangings on the walls. Other Tush-kiyiz are smaller and would be used as headboards for beds or as a sofa or divan covering. But this type are now particularly hard to find, especially in good condition. Today, sadly, Tush-Kiyiz are becoming much rare. Nowadays, not that many people live in yurts and although the Tush-Kiyiz survived the transition into fixed houses, the skill is dying out as cheaper but les interesting machine made materials are available and as traditions change. A good Tush-Kiyiz might have taken several months to make, although probably the grandmother who made it did not work on the design for more than a few hours daily, given all her other tasks.

  It is now rare to find new Tush-Kiyiz and it is also rare to find any that are elder then 40-50 years. Some of them will have the date sewn into them.

  Being nomadic for centuries the Kyrgyzes had travel a lot within the valleys with their cattle, so they need a number of various bags and sacks for keeping and transporting of their belongings.

  On the north such bags called ayak-kap, on the south bashtyk.

  Being usually squared, some samples still have orbed down parts, which was decorated with fringe or trimmed with wool lace.

  The bag had a patterned flap closing over the top. The pattern on the flap is differ from the one on the bag. With time Bashtyk had lost its practical matter as bag, but became purely decorative article still placed in yurta.

  Ancient bags from felt and leather were later replaced by square bags made of homespun, velvet or cloth embroidered with wool, silk or cotton threads on the right side.

  Not less interesting cloth cupboards which were hung on walls and known as Tegche. Tegche is a rectangular carpet which were folded and made into containers for clothes and other items. Some Tush-Kiyiz are also could be folded to carry the same functions.

  Noticeable and original detail of internal yourt decoration were Syulgu - embroidered decorative towels, made of flax or silk fabric. The towels were hung on kerege or tush-kiyiz and could be observed from both sides, therefore the embroidery was usually performed on both sides.

  The smaller was a thing the more mastery it required. Using all the fantasy and unselfish propensity to beauty Kyrgyz women created this not really important things in householding, but needed while wandering to keep tea and salt, scissors and mirror, crockery and spoons.

  Being hung on walls of yurta this countless sacks, cases and containers were original and colourful decorations of the interior and also told about mistress, her qualities and diligence.

  Wicker - work was also very popular. Laces were tatted holding one edge of them in the mouth and binding the knots with the hands changing threads.

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