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WOODWORK

Wood carving is an ancient craft and the Kyrgyz often decorated the wooden parts of their yurts, furniture and utensils by carving and painting patterns on them. Objects such as the “juk” – where linen was stored, bread-bins, harnesses and saddle pommels, containers, the pishkek – used for stirring kymiss, ladles and candlesticks would all have been decorated like this.

The wooden frame of the yurt itself was not carved – but the kerege (the lattice work frame which is stretched around the circumference of the yurt), the door, lintels and doorjambs may have been carved with patterns and / or painted with coloured clays – usually red and / or blue. 
Quite often the working of wood was a specialist skill, and performed by masters who worked “to order”.  There were even (and still are) those who specialized in making spoons.
Originally patterns were drawn freehand giving a greater degree of individuality and character to each piece – but over the course of time many craftsmen started using stencils. Many of the motifs used are similar to those found in shyrdaks. Many different types of wood were used – varying in softness and flexibility. 
An adze would be used to create the basic shape, details would be created using chisels and special sharp, curved, knives. As well as carving reliefs, other techniques were also used … such as turning and bending. Small children’s cups were made of cherry – and plates were also turned on a lathe. 
A special place went to those craftsmen that produced musical instruments such as the Komuz and the Kyiak.