The beautiful steep-sided Chon (Big) Kemin Valley runs parallel to the border of Kazakhstan between two mountain ranges. The valley’s population is mostly Kyrgyz, of the Sary Bagysh tribe, and many traditions are still practiced here. At Chon-Kemin it may be possible to observe the traditional craft of felt making, a craft that has survived the centuries. Kyrgyz have always used felted wool to cover their yurts, and to make rugs, bags, slippers and hats. To make an ala-kiyiz rug, a second layer of felt of one or more colors is pressed into the original piece, creating a rug with a fuzzy pattern. A shyrdak is made with the appliqué method, and results in a crisper design.
PUBLISHED: July 18, 2013