Traditional knowledge and skills in making Kyrgyz and Kazakh yurts (Turkic nomadic dwellings) marks_1
  • Manage No, Sortation, Country, Writer ,Date, Copyright
    Manage No EE00000068
    Country Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan
    ICH Domain Social practices, rituals, festive events Traditional craft skills
    The element is practiced all over the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic and Republic of Kazakhstan.
Description Yurt production includes knowledge and skills in creating a portable dwelling traditionally used by Kazakh and Kyrgyz people. Yurt has a dismountable wooden circular frame covered with felt and braided with ropes. Yurts can be easily set up and dismantled within a short period of time. Yurts are basically characterized as easily transportable, compact, ecological and practical dwellings. Bearers of yurt-making traditional knowledge are craftspeople (men and women), producing yurts and yurts’ interior decorations. Men and their apprentices make yurts’ wooden frames, traditionally by hand using special devices and instruments. Men also make wooden, leather, bone and metal details for yurts and household items. Women make yurt coverings and interior decorations. As a rule, they work in community-based groups supervised by experienced skilled women-artisans. Women-artisans use weaving, spinning, braiding, felting, embroidering, sewing, winding and other traditional handicraft technologies. Women’s work- process is usually accompanied by their singing, joking, telling stories about famous masters of the past and treating traditional meals. Clans’ wise elders are also bearers. Knowledge and skills are transmitted through generations traditionally from masters to their apprentices (oral instructions, practical classes, joint production). The element is a great value and heritage received genetically or through learning, enriched by masters and transmitted to young generations. Joint production of yurts gives craftspeople the “one-family” feeling; the use of yurts by livestock-breeders as their dwellings in everyday life and by urban citizens as their summer-houses generates the feeling of continuity of ancestors’ traditions. Yurts are an obligatory part of all national festivities, traditional events and funeral-memorial rituals; yurts are kept in the family and transmitted from parents to their children as a sacred family relic ensuring ancestors’ protection. For Kyrgyz and Kazakh people the Yurt is not only a dwelling and the Universe model; but also a symbol of their national identity. Yurt’s top crown shanyrak and tyundyuk are depicted on the state symbols of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan – coat of arms and flag. Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan Heads of State receive honourable guests in Yurt.
Social and cultural significance Yurt creation is a joint work-process of the whole community of craftspeople, which fosters the formation of common human values, constructive cooperation, creative imagination and is a uniting factor giving community members the feeling of their identity. Transmitting traditional knowledge and skills to young people, craftsmen teach them to be diligent, responsible, careful and friendly to the environment. While assembling or dismantling a yurt, the elders of a family or a kin transmit the fundamental values and principles of Kazakh and Kyrgyz people: to safeguard, develop and transmit to descendants the centuries-old folk traditions. All folk festivities, ceremonies, important events related to a human life-cycle such as baby-birth, wedding, jubilee, funeral rituals are held in a yurt. Traditionally yurts are set up during big national holidays. Some events number more than 200 – 300 yurts. 1000 yurts were set up during the millennium celebrations of Trilogy “Manas. Semetey. Seytek” in Kyrgyzstan in 1995. During celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Jambul in 1996 in Kazakhstan near Uzun-Agach village 2500 yurts were set up. In the era of automated technologies, traditional hand work created by human inspired that imagination acquires special importance for communities and society as a whole. Yurt remains a stable and lasting link with the past.. Although the significance of a yurt as a dwelling is transformed with the development of urbanization, it remains an important cultural heritage of Kyrgyz and Kazakh people. Yurt is a symbol of statehood, family, traditional hospitality and is widely used in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Transmission method Traditional yurt-making knowledge and skills are transmitted to young generations by craftspeople through practical trainings, instructions, demonstrations. Traditionally, knowledge and skills are transmitted in families from fathers to sons, from mothers to daughters, or in craftspeople communities from teachers to apprentices. From the very childhood, young members of craftspeople communities help old masters and learn secrets of craftsmanship from the masters in practice. Within the frames of formal education, vocational schools and handicraft-profiled colleges teach young people traditional yurt-making. Within formal education, kindergartens and pre-schools in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan also provide children with primary knowledge about yurts, their function, use and importance. Some handicraft technologies used in yurt-production (embroideries, plaiting, felting, wood-carving etc.) are taught at crafts classes in schools, art colleges and institutes, studios and extra-curricular vocational programs. Knowledge and skills in yurt assembling, dismantling and storing, yurt symbols are transmitted usually by elder members of families and clans in the process of using yurts and storing them in-between. Knowledge and skills related to the element are transmitted and promoted among public at large during various cultural events (exhibitions, festivals, master-classes) directly from the element bearers and practitioners and through mass media.
Community The community concerned with the nominated element are craftspeople (men and women) producing yurts and yurt interior decorations. Nowadays they are represented by family-based communities, like Sharshembiyevy, Kenchibayevy families of Kyrgyzstan, Zhaparbayevy, Dalbayevy families of Kazakhstan as well as artisans’ associations like “Our Heritage” (Kazakhstan), “Crafts council of Kyrgyzstan” and etc.
Type of UNESCO List Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Incribed year in UNESCO List 2014
Information source

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