The yurt: Stories from Central Asia

Garden of Stories

The yurt is where we can find stories of the rich craft cultures of Central Asia, bringing the nomadic past with the urban present.

“The yurt is a traditional portable dwelling of many nomadic peoples of the world. But the yurt is not just a house, it reflects the worldview of nomads and is a small model of the universe, which is reflected in its structural division, decor and semiotics. Created from a folding wooden frame and a dense felt covering that protects from heat and cold, the yurt is quickly assembled and easily disassembled by one family within one hour, easily transported by camels, horses or a car. In Central Asian countries the yurt is still actively used, including in the tourism industry. The yurt is included by UNESCO in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mankind.”

Dinara Chochunbaeva, respected author, Kyrgyzstan

Kokand: A whirlwind craft festival - Vicki Mason shares her experience of the enveloping Uzbek hospitality and south-south connections at the International Festival of Handicrafts
From Aotearoa to Uzbekistan: New Zealand in the Zar Festival of Gold, Bukhara - Finn McCahon-Jones feels the vibe from New Zealand makers who participated in an epic celebration of opulence in Central Asia.
Goahten: At home with Sámi - There is more to Swedish furniture than IKEA. Katarina Spik Skum has produced authentic iconic Sámi furnishings that reconnect with nomad roots.
Waking up in Tuva - Michael Cline's quest for Tuvan throat-singing led him to a culture that is finely tuned to its mountain landscape.
Polishing: An overlooked craft - Jahan Rezakhanlou reveals the wonders of polishing in Japan, Uzbekistan and India.
Asif Shaikh and Aziz Murtazaev ✿ A dialogue of print and stitch - Our October laurel goes to Our October laurel goes to an eloquent collaboration between Indian embroiderer Asif Shaik and Uzbek ikat maker Aziz eloquent collaboration between Indian embroider Asif Shaik and Uzbek ikat maker Aziz Murtazaev.
Life in a boma - Anniina Sandberg shares her experience of living in a Tanzanian Maasai family compound with the goats and an occasional scorpion.
Kultur-All Makaan: A cool place for African warmth - Kultur-All Makaan is a wondrous tent for bringing together refugee cultures of Central Victoria, including the Sudanese singer Dabora Dout whose beads welcome visitors.
The Kyrgyz yurt: Let the hearth not go out - Alymkozhoeva Kүlүm Shamievna, Issyk-Kul State Historic Cultural Reserve Museum, shares her extensive knowledge about the anatomy and rules of the yurt.
The world in a yurt - Dinara Cochunbaeva shares her learnings about Kyrgyz craft, family, culture and cosmology embodied in the yurt.
Central Asia awakes! The Festival of Handcrafters, Kokand, Uzbekistan - A festival in Uzbekistan marks the awakening of Central Asia as a driving force in the global "craft renaissance".
Shyrdak: A sunny day in Kyrgyzstan - Dinara Chochunbaeva takes us to Kyrgyzstan on a sunny spring afternoon when the shyrdak felt rugs are on display.
Five fingers full of skill: Four artisans from Tajikistan - Ikromi Nigina profiles for Tajik artisans specialising in block-printing, kundal (wall-painting), toy-making and weaving.
Quarterly Essay ✿ The long and winding Silk Road - Christina Sumner goes in search of Central Asian treasures to show the outside world.
From Samarkand to Kütahya: A Silk Road of shared skills - The story of Mehroj Bobomurokov and the benefits of skill exchange that still flourish along the old Silk Road.
Aziz Murtazaev ✿ Why I returned from London - The story of how Aziz Murtazaev left his lucrative career in London and returned to Uzbekistan, making a successful ikat workshop. .
“Forty hunar are not enough”: Craft and community in Uzbekistan - Keys to understanding Uzbek craft are "hunar", the skills a person is expected to have, and "mahalla", the local community association where people gather.
Carlier Makigawa ✿ Delirious in Uzbekistan - The Melbourne jeweller Carlier Makigawa was inspired by the Islamic architecture of Uzbekistan and produced necklaces that relfect a geometric intricacy of colour and form. Helen Britton adds her analysis of the work.
The long and winding Silk Road: My quest to uncover treasures from Central Asia - Christina Sumner helped reveal to the world the splendour of Central Asian crafts. Here she retraces her journey as she sought permission to borrow their priceless treasures.
“If you want to know about us, examine our buildings”: A Journey through Uzbekistan  - For Mary Jose, Uzbek architecture is a window onto a sublime past, reflected today in the beautiful ikat textiles of Margelan
Uzbekistan and the promise of apple trees - The glass artist Layla Walter anticipates her travel to Uzbekistan, evoking memories of a childhood garden
Why the copy of a Turkmen wedding dress is better than the original - Unintentionally, Hermann E. Rudolph breaks a sacred rule of Turkmen culture and tries to make amends.
Making wood precious in Astana, Kazakhstan - As a participant in the Sheber Festival Astana (Kazakhstan 17-18 December 2016) and Artistic Jewellery Workshop, Martina Dempf gives us a rare glimpse of the creative life of Astana, Kazakhstan.
Unexpected linkage - Sun Woong Bang describes how his work connects the ancient Celtic and Korean cultures,

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