04 February 2006


These are some pictures of traditional Kyrgyz shyrdaks (the links in that post are dead, but at least there is an explanation there of how shyrdaks are made- the Silk Road link is still good). I'd like to pick up a few while we're here (smaller than the ones shown here) so we went to Osh Bazaar in search of some. We might wait to buy any because they are cheaper and sometimes better quality around Issyk-Kul or near Naryn.

The old shyrdaks used natural dyes, but commercial dyes were introduced 30 or 40 years ago. The natural dyes are usually far more soothing to look at. I've seen some shyrdaks that are absolutely jarring to my eye.


  1. commercial dyes were actually introduced about 100 years ago, as soon as they were developed, because their colors are much brighter and offer better visual contrast than locally-available natural dyes.
    -a shyrdak fan who wrote her thesis on them

  2. I think I found your thesis, if you went to WSU. It was very interesting to read. I've always read that the Soviets introduced chemical dyes in the 60s. Thanks!