The Shyrdak is a traditional Kyrgyz felt carpet, usually it has just two colors. The traditional patterns which decorate a carpet are difference animals, birds or flowers. But on some carpets we can see geometrical designs, for example, rhomboids, triangles or hexagons. Traditionally only women were making shyrdaks. One woman can make a shyrdak, but usually several women were producing it. It takes about 15 days to produce a small carpet, while the larger ones can take about one and a half months or sometimes even a year.Shyrdaks are produced in the following way:Women take two square pieces of felt of different colors and sew them together. Then a pattern is drawn in chalk in a corner of the top layer of felt. The second half of the pattern is produced by folding the felt over and hitting the back so that the chalk outline is imprinted as a mirror reflection - the pattern now covers half of the square of felt. This process is repeated to produce another mirror image on the other half of the square. In this way a perfectly symmetrical pattern is produced. A sharp knife is then used to cut out the outline. It blunts very quickly, so needs sharpening. The result is four pieces of felt - two backgrounds and two inner patterns - in different colors. The two background pieces, which are still connected by the thread originally used to join the two squares, are separated. The inner part of one color is then sewn into the background piece of contrasting color to form a square panel. When the second panel is completed the two are sewn together to give a mirror image of contrasting colors. Larger carpets can be made by joining together several panels. The panels of the carpet are then surrounded by a border. Common are black and white triangles representing the mountains. Shyrdaks can be used for 30-40 years or even more.
Welcome to Kyrgyzstan!