Safeguarding and Promotion of Kyrgyz Traditional Felt Carpets
For the purpose of safeguarding and promoting the Kyrgyz traditional felt carpets Ala-kiyiz and Shyrdak, inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, master classes and an exhibition of these traditional carpets were held September 26–28, 2019 at the Kyrgyz State Memorial Frunze House Museum in Bishkek. The event was organized by UNESCO’s Almaty office in conjunction with the National Commission of the Kyrgyz Republic for UNESCO as part of the European Union and UNESCO project “Silk Roads Heritage Corridors in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iran – International Dimension of the European Year of Cultural Heritage.”
In 2012, Ala-kiyiz and Shyrdak, the art of traditional Kyrgyz felt, were inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Needs of Urgent Safeguarding. An event was held to safeguard, to promote, and to raise the awareness about the importance of this traditional craft.
Master classes were held over three days to promote and safeguard traditional skills and knowledge in manufacturing these Kyrgyz felt carpets. Craftswomen who are the bearers and practitioners of the element participated in all seven regions of the country. They facilitated informal discussions about the traditional manufacturing techniques, the symbolism of ornaments, and skills.
In addition, to raise awareness about the element among a wider audience, particularly among the younger generation, students from elementary and high schools were invited. The youngsters were given the chance to try their hand at making the felt carpets, and learned about the history of the rich culture and diversity of traditional craftsmanship and skills of the Kyrgyz people related to the production of these traditional pieces.
September 30, 2019 a round table was held at the Park Hotel, Bishkek. The purpose of the round table was to raise awareness among the general public as well as the government of the Kyrgyz Republic about the importance of traditional Kyrgyz felt carpets, ensuring the safeguarding and transmission of these items to future generations.
Accordingly, participants at the round table included deputies of the parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic, as well as representatives of related crafts, NGOs, experts, ethnographers, craftspeople, and so on.
The round table featured presentations on best practices, the results of the craftswomen’s work, governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations for the safeguarding and promotion of traditional felt carpets. There were also discussions on the necessary measures for effective work to create further cooperation among the government of the Kyrgyz Republic and various sectors of civil society to develop handicrafts.