The meaning of patterns in felt rugs


shyrdak with patterns of hospitality
Left: border with symbol of hospitality. and in the middle the sheeps's horn. Right: symbol of blessing

Next week, I am off to Kyrgyzstan again. Trying to find nice felt rugs, pillows and ottomans. 

Searching through my notes of last year, I found my book with many of the symbols Kyrgyz felt makers use in there felt rugs. The patterns used in shyrdak are characteristic of those used in other Kyrgyz arts and crafts. Some designs are very old, before Islamic times. Each pattern has a name, some of which indicate a connection with the old shamanism past.  

Well known is the Sheep’s horn motif, mostly used in the centre field of the shyrdak in a variety of combinations. It represents wealth. The sheep will bring wool, milk and flesh to the tribe or family. If the sheep are OK, the family is OK. 

I had mentioned before (blog: birds and symbolism) that birds play an important role in the Central Asian textiles. In the shyrdak they stand for freedom or the connection between heaven and earth. They are often used as border. 

I really like the symbol “köökör” for hospitality. It is a nice pattern with a lot possibilities for variation. The form represents the leather kumiz vessel. Kumiz is the national drink made of  fermented horse milk, always offered to the guests. You see this symbol often countered in a heart form. A nice way to welcome your guests.

 Try to find the meaning of the symbols used in the images of shyrdak which you can find in my online shop and website. It’s fun. 

designs and patterns in shyrdak from Kyrgyzstan

meaning of patterns in shyrdak

patterns used in felt carpets