Teasel weaving holds a special place in the rich
and diverse heritage of Kyrgyz people. Piled carpets are original, colorful
and very popular. Carpets have their own stylistic traits, creating a harmony
of patterned motifs of a variety of colors. This type of weaving was predominantly
spread through out the southern parts of Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyz piled items of various sizes were used for
different purposes. Small bags were used for storing clothing and household
articles, small carpets, horse harnesses, and a long band called tegirich used
for decoration of the yurt.
Large piled carpets called kilem were always
of a great value. Their size was approximately 150x300 cm. Kilems were
widely used. When moving to another place, they covered a loaded camel with
a carpet. Carpets were laid upon felts and mats on the floor of the yurt at
weddings, funerals, celebrations and when receiving guests. The carpets were
stored faced down on Juk - the central part of the yurt.
Till present days the traditions of carpet weaving
are kept by craftswomen called cheber, who have been involved into this
manufacture since they were 9-12 years old. Gifted craftswomen who wove patterned
carpets were always respected. Many of them could also roll felt and were excellent
Kyrgyz carpets were famous for high quality and
durability. They were mainly made of wool, but some were made of cotton.
Wool of a sheep, goat or camel was used to wave
carpets. Preference was given to camel's wool because of its strength. Sheep's
wool of grey or brown color is used for making warp, weft and pile. Coarse wool
is used for warp and a weft. Soft wool is used for making a pile; sometimes
the used white goat's fluff for the pile.
The lengthwise threads of the carpets are spun
and twisted very tightly and evenly. They are treated in a special fashion to
make them stronger resulting in a firm and thick carpet. The crosswise threads
are not spun as tightly as the lengthwise threads.
The device used for making carpets was very simple.
It was fixed to the ground and the frame was made of four wooden bars. Such
devices were used through out the country.
Work started and finished with weaving a thick
border 7-10 cm in width. It was usually a grey or brown color. Most carpets
ended with long fringe of plated threads.
The tools of carpet makers are simple. This is
wooden comb or tokmok used for adjusting threads of the weft and pile;
a knife, or pychak applied for cutting thread of the pile; and scissors,
or kaichy for leveling the pile.
Carpet making is accompanied by observance of some
national traditions such us kilem ashar, which means to provide assistance
in carpet making. Thus, a carpet maker is helped by several women. When the
work is finished they are given presents and food.
The basic color combination of carpet consists
of two colors - red and blue. This tradition is rooted in ancient times. Both
colors have delicate and soft shades.
Kyrgyz carpet makers used plant dyes. Besides red
and blue colors, they used orange, yellow, pink, green, brown and white to make
the carpet vivacities.
Traditional peculiarities of Kyrgyz applied arts
are also found in piled carpets. This includes succession of back ground and
pattern colors and an interaction of blue and red colors.
The majority of piled items have a central field
and a border. Each part has its own rules of ornamentation including fixed character
pattern arrangement and certain color combination.
Kyrgyz piled articles are decorated with great
variety. Pattern place a key role in decoration. It is variegated, and may utilize
sophisticated and specific shapes, showing the close cultural interaction of
Central Asian people.
Like other patterns, carpet patterns are stale,
keeping with traditional shapes. At the same time, the constantly vary as new
ideas are added by the craftsmen with each new carpet.
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