The art of handicraft: what to bring back from Kazakhstan

The art of handicraft: what to bring back from Kazakhstan

NomadicCultural heritage

What to bring back from Kazakhstan? If you were just in transit through the country and did not have time to imbue the spirit of the Kazakh land, then you can limit yourself to buying small souvenir products: magnets, umbrellas, mugs with symbols of the region where fate has brought you.

If the trip was full of positive impressions, meetings with interesting people, then you will certainly want to take something special with you, something with a national flavor, representing the essence of the places you visited. This, as a rule, is the product of artisans. Let us talk about it more. The selection, as well as the price range, is wide. From inexpensive decorative bosteks (wraps for armchairs and chairs) made in the national style, to real works of art, for example, traditional silver jewelry.

Traditional handicraft

In ancient times in Kazakhstan handicraft was closely related to cattle breeding: wool making, weaving, processing of bone, and skin. Wood and metal products were also made. Some of these items were necessary for the nomads in everyday life, some were used as a decoration for a yurt, or clothes, etc.

Some types of traditional handicrafts were forgotten, but today, thanks to the efforts of enthusiasts, including the Union of Artisans of Kazakhstan, which includes more than 650 craftsmen from all regions of the country, they are gradually being restored. For example, making of suede with the finest silk embroidery or "biz keste", which is a modern art direction based on ancient Kazakh crochet embroidery.

Since 2009, the “Sheber” Republican contest has been held in Nur-Sultan. Its main goal is not only to unite masters but also to charge them with energy to work in the most remote corners of Kazakhstan.

By the way, tourists can also participate in handicraft mini-master classes. Masters, for the most part, are open-minded, friendly people, ready to share their warmth with the world. Do not miss the opportunity not only to purchase their hand-made products but also just to speak with the ones who made it!

For warmth and comfort

Perhaps products made of felt are the most diverse and affordable. Today it is a very common craft all over the world, but, as a rule, most craftsmen use the modern method of felting. However, the "nomadic method" (the traditional way of felt production: with your own hands, without artificial dyes), which is being revived in Kazakhstan, is the most respected. Indeed, only in this way can a dense waterproof yurt felt be made. In several regions of our country, craftswomen make various products, inlaid with Kazakh ornaments, using this old technology.

A lot of useful and beautiful things are made of felt: souvenir toys, warm slippers, vests, scarves and much more. You can buy them for yourself or as a gift to your loved ones.

Since we are talking about what warms the body, let us mention sewing. Patchwork, knitting, designer batik, production of environmentally friendly rag, textile toys are also very common in Kazakhstan. But “korpe” deserve special attention. It can become an amazing elegant gift purchased from a Kazakh craftswomen, if, of course, the tourist’s suitcase has enough room for a blanket or a mattress (either large or small). Here are the main types of korpe: zhamylgy korpe (blanket), zher korpe (small mattress to sit on the floor), tor korpe (for guests of honor), oyu korpe (patterned korpe). Each craftswoman in her own way decorates the product with an ornament or a plot image, making it even more unique.

Nomad outfit

If large gifts, made of felt or fabric, are problematic to transport, you can opt for objects of decorative art made of leather, bone and animal skins. Leather clothing, shoes, saddles, harnesses, etc has always been of great importance for nomads.

And today, many modern masters love working with leather, including making souvenirs: torsyks (leather vessels), whips, jewelry, and accessories. Decorated with ornaments-amulets, they are popular among tourists.

Wood products are in great request too: figurines, jewelry, jewelry boxes, and even paintings!

Silver - for good luck!

Another direction is jewelry craftsmanship. Of course, the products of Kazakhstani jewelers will allure even the pickiest tourists! Jewelry in Kazakhstan has been made since ancient times. Historians and archaeologists talk about bronze, gold, silver items found in all regions of Kazakhstan. Once silver jewelry made up the most valuable part of a bride’s dowry. Necklaces, bracelets, and pendants served not only as decoration but also as an amulet, a talisman for a successful hunt or battle.

And today, modern Kazakhstani jewelers produce silver and gold classic jewelry with an authentic touch: brooches, bracelets, earrings with pendants. There are craftsmen who decorate weapons, artisans who are engaged in the manufacture of traditional Kazakh knives used in hunting and in everyday life.

Unique handicrafts made by people who carefully preserve the history and traditions of their nation can be found all over the country. Find them and become happy owners of these works of art!

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