Kyrgyzstan, the mountainous former Soviet Republic, lies between China and Kazakhstan in the heart of Central Asia. It has been independent since 1991. The kyrgyz art of felting and making Shyrdaks is a tradition that dates back centuries.
The Kyrgyz women in the north of the country learn the old tradition from their mothers. Young women often prefer to move to the capital Bishkek. But if they see a possibility to earn money with this old handicraft, they continue to cultivate it - in homework. Otherwise it remains with the mothers and grandmothers in the villages. They sew whenever there is no sowing, nursing or harvesting. Each master craftswoman draws and cuts the ornaments, which she associates with the cultural heritage of her people, into the felt. She proudly signs the underside of each finished carpet. The importance of the craft and the money it brings in strengthens her social position. Shyrdaks were a main element of the dowry for young families. Tourism, the UNESCO upgrading to "World Heritage" and customers in the West help to ensure that the unique technique is not forgotten and can even experience a revival today.