Shyrdak felt rugs
Felt rugs from Kyrgyzstan traditionally called shyrdak rugs are made by nomadic tribes in the Tien Shan Mountains. For years these striking rugs have been used to decorate yurts or passed along as gifts and heirlooms. Shyrdak felt rugs are famous for their bright contrasting colours and symbolic motifs Made by pressing two different coloured felt panels together and dyed using natural dyes, these beautiful rugs represent years of Kyrgyz culture and heritage. Shyrdak rugs fit in well in with contemporary design ideals and also score well from an ethical viewpoint as there production is not harmful to the environment and is made using 100% sustainable materials. They are suitable to be used as both rugs and wall hangings.
Making A Shyrdak Felt Rug
It takes the wool from approximately five sheep to make one shyrdak rug. The wool is picked clean washed, dried then dyed. Traditionally they have stuck with high contrast colours such as red and green, yellow and black, brown and white. Different colour combinations have different meanings, for example when you see red and blue together it represents the mountains and lake Issyk-kul. At this point a brightly coloured pattern is laid on to a plain background this is then liberal soaked with soap and water rolled up and literally pressed this process is repeated. Once the pattern starts to hold the rug is reversed soaked and rolled again after some hours the shyrdak rug is left to dry. Two contrasting layers of felt are the laid on top of one another and a pattern is then marked on the top layer in chalk. This is painstakingly and laboriously cut out with the felt maker frequently sharpening the knife which will blunt quickly. This creates a stunning positive/negative style visual image usually full of symbolic motif images that represent things around them i.e. the water, goat horns a yurt etc. The felt that is cut from the top layer is not wasted and is used to create another mirror image shyrdak with the reverse colours of the original shyrdak.
Care for your Felt Rug
Well looked after your Shyrdak felt rug can last you for 30+ years, the thick felt bases and patterns that are hand stitched into position make for a hardy long lasting rugs. As with all rugs the life expectancy depends a lot on the usage if your rug is in an area of very heavy traffic then it will probably not last as long as one in area with less foot fall.
It is not recommend that you wash or dry clean your Shyrdak felt rug, stain removers and sprays should also be avoided. If you accidently spill a drink on your Shrydak felt rug you should dab it clean with a clean dry cloth or blot it up with kitchen towel (do not rub as this may damage the surface). The natural lanolin in the sheep’s wool means the rugs have a degree of natural defence against water based liquids. It is not recommended that you use a vacuum cleaner on your rug as this can damge the stitching, instead occasionally beating your rug with a traditional rug beater or broom handle will help to revitalise the rug and removes any surface dirt.