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About Kazakhstan / Arts / Craftsmanship / Carpet Weaving

Kazakhs used felt for making floor and wall carpets: tekemet, syrmak, tuskiiz.

Tekemet. With the picture simplicity and relative scarcity of colours, patterned felt mats have a unique and very beautiful effect thanks to the scale of the picture, its decorative simplicity and faded softness of tones especially emphasized in the felt mats and wool mats with natural colours.

Methods of tekemet preparation were bron during the times of kipchaks. Kipchak traditions in carpet making were preserved not only by Kazakhs but also by the nations of North Caucasus: kumyks, karachais, cherkesses, nogais. Another type of felt carpet, syrmak, is sewed from the patterned shapes of usually white and black felt. One of the forms of syrmak is the felt carpet called “bitpes”. The name of “bitpes” (unrealizable, unachievable) delivers the complicated nature of the ornament. Syrmak and tekemet are floor felt carpets. Wall felt carpets are called tuskiiz.

Tuskiiz are also sewed carpets. They were made of velveteen, velvet, silk and other textile. Kazakh sewed not only carpets but also asmaldyk (small carpets for decorating camels) at zhamchi (saddle-cloth and horsecloth for saddles, cases for chests, coverlets, bed curtains, curtains, pillow-cases, towels. Heart-shaped figures and plant patterns were embroidered on these things. All carpet things were made on the vertical and horizontal simple looms (ormek). From ancient carpets of Kazakh we know smooth carpets (alasha). 30-40 cm wide carpets were weaved on the looms, decorated with weaved pattern or vertical white, blue, yellow or brown stripes. Then they are sewed into the stockinet (4m x 2m). Kazakh loved pile carpets. These carpets were considered the most expensive and valuable part of the marriage portion.

Nowadays, in some regions of Kazakhstan, mainly in the south of the country, production of smooth and pile carpets is maintained, along with other traditional crafts.

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