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Shyrdak

Postcards from Stanland: Journeys in Central Asia published by the Ohio University (Swallow) Press (2016)

Shyrdaks for sale at Osh Bazaar, Bishkek, 1997

Shyrdaks for sale at Osh Bazaar, Bishkek, 1997

 

The Kyrgyz shyrdak (in Kazakh, syrmak) is a brightly-colored thick felt rug with intricate patterns and motifs, representing the nomadic traditions.  For herding families, shyrdaks were used to cover the sleeping and living areas and walls of the yurt, the traditional tent-like dwelling, providing insulation from sub-zero ground and air temperatures.  It can take the wool from five sheep to make one large shyrdak and the process of cleaning, drying, dyeing, rolling, cutting and stitching the pressed wool is slow and labor-intensive. These days, most shyrdaks are sold to city dwellers and foreign tourists for their homes.

Postcards from Stanland: Journeys in Central Asia (Ohio University Press, 2016) is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and other online retailers, or from your local bookstore.  Read excerpts at www.davidhmould.com (Travel Blogs and Articles) or Facebook /PostcardsFromStanland/ or view readings and interviews on YouTube, http://bit.ly/davidhmould