Unique felt rugs from the mountains of heaven

For over two and a half thousand years, the nomadic peoples of the remote Tien Shan mountains in Kyrgyzstan have created their dazzling felt rugs.

Known as Shyrdaks, these wool rugs have a tough flattened felt base handsewn with geometric surface patterns in coloured felts. Motifs are chosen to bestow blessings, describe a scene or tell a story of life in the mountains of heaven.

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Felt is the first company to import these vibrant works of art direct from their makers in Kyrgyzstan to Britain. Tim Moock of Felt bought his first Shyrdaks while visiting Kyrgyzstan in 1996. He has set up a fair trade agreement with the nomadic people, bringing their wonderfully hardwearing rugs from the Tien Shan peaks to sit happily in Britain’s town and country houses.

Shyrdaks are as practical as they are decorative and their story has both romance and a touch of danger. Made outdoors by the tribal women, each rug takes a master cutter and her team of makers between 10 and 20 days to complete. Each rug is made from raw wool which has been flattened with boiling water, rolled up in a reed mat and then ‘felted’ by being dragged across mountain pastures behind a galloping horse. The surface felts are coloured, traditionally with natural dyes made from roots and fruits, and then used to create geometric patterns which are bound to the base with strong stitching.

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The applied shapes are vocabulary from the ancient language which still forms part of the everyday life of the rug makers. Each of Felt’s Shyrdaks tells a unique story and Felt’s customers can also commission bespoke rugs in their chosen colours, patterns and sizes. Shyrdak colours range from the dazzlingly bright to subtly muted tones, offering a wide range of decorative possibilities for both contemporary and traditional interiors.

the independent hotel show

the independent hotel show





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