Archive for December 7, 2010

Why I Continue to Blog in KZ (Part II)

Yesterday I copied an e-mail I got from a Kazakh woman living in the U.S.  Today I will blog the reaction from an American who has lived in Almaty for over five years and LOVES to learn more about the Kazakh carpets.  I had my friend come and talk to my Kazakh and Kazakhstani students a year ago. I learned so much from her and what she had found out in her researching this topic of Kazakh rugs.  The following is what she wrote several days ago after she read what I sent her about the Kazakh woman’s thoughts. This social networking arena sure makes global boundaries not seem so distant.

“This latest response on kazakh rugs on your blog just sent a chill down my spine.  How someone like me could uncover this important arts/cultural black hole is, well, beyond me.   I believe there is more information out there…So can I ask that you post this note and thank you for pushing me to commit the bit I did on this fascinating subject.

Frankly, while I apologize for any mistakes I might have made in my very quick and initial research into Kakakh dowry carpets, I am also quite pleased with myself.  I committed what I heard and what I could find to paper.  So I would ask anyone who reads my research to PLEASE challenge my work.  I am an American, I don’t speak Russian or Kazakh. But I realized as soon as I started comparing these lovely red rugs that have recurring themes, the triangle…Turk “evil eye” or to ward off evil… there has to be a very rich story here.  And a very evident link to the Turk people. The same with the “tree of life”, and by the way, why are all the rugs red?  Is this symbolic of the blood of livestock, the wealth of the family, or is the red interior  color  of the yurt restful to the retina after a day on the steppe without RayBans?  Or is this simply the result of the primary dye source, madder root which was available in the area...I realized early on in looking at rugs that the dating [woven into the carpets] simply stopped in the 1960’s, I just didn’t know why.

These are fascinating questions to me, but not mine to answer.  Dowry rugs go beyond the oral tradition of storytelling, this was committed as an art form to be passed from generation to generation, and should be researched by the Kazakh people.  This is such a rich and loving message, I hope that the families that have received these cryptic messages on rugs from their past will take the time to tell the stories.  Decipher the story someone desperately wanted to pass down after years in the planning and preparing and weaving.  Please share your ancestors stories in writing, so that those without the benefit of family can also enjoy this rich heritage.” [bold my emphasis!]

I’m hoping that some Kazakh person will read this blog post and start thinking about what information they know and respond to this so I can help answer my American friend’s questions.  She really has a fine arts background so she knows very fine art when she sees it.  I think knowing more about the richness of this art form put to rugs could open up many avenues of understanding this amazing culture!  Why can’t there be an anthropology course that really studied Kazakh culture in depth instead of taking on other western issues that have no relevance to Central Asia.  Many other issues abound here but I think seeking out qualitative research info about these Kazakh woven carpets could yield so much for the people in Kazakhstan.

One of many reasons why I continue to blog in Kazakhstan…to fill in the historical gaps about this great land and connect people of like interests with each other.

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