Kyrgyz Carpets - Kurak

Kurak is a name given to different kinds of articles made of fabric scraps sawn together. Its name originated from the word “kura” which means “sawn together, put together from separate pieces” and is referred both to finished products and to the methods of their fabrication. This kind of handicraft may be found throughout the whole Central Asia. It was also practiced in Kirgizia, especially in the South.

This is a good means “to sit nothing to do”. The items made of different scraps may serve as hennins, children’s clothes, coverlets and blankets for cradles, wedding curtains, mattresses, pillows, and covers for saddles, bags and carpets.

The items made of scraps are often associated with magic characteristics – they were able to bring fortune and prosperity and protect from fiends - there exist special rituals, connected with this. For example, kurk koynok is a shirt for a newly-born baby to put it on on its 40th day. The shirt needs to be sawn from 40 pieces of fabric collected by its mother from owners of the neighboring yurts. A great number of scraps were included in a girl’s dowry. Fabric pieces are collected at various family events. Black and white scraps are thought as most valuable. Other colors, especially red one, are also used for weaving but the exact combination of the pattern depends on available stock of such pieces.

Kurak also gives wide possibilities for self-expression, though the majority of the items are of the same geometric forms, proportions and symmetry, usage of various colors and intricate figures permits every mistress to demonstrate her unique abilities. There are two main forms of items from scraps – the first one is made from square and triangular pieces, and the second - from long strips of different color.

There are a lot of examples of standard patters called as boto koz – “camel’s eye”, turna-kurak – “crane”, tumarcha - “amulet” and jyldyz - “star”. However the most popular pattern among them is a black triangle on a white background. Often enough, one can find patchwork, embroidery and even knitting in one of same item.