February 3, 2011

Q is for Quilt

Since 1920 when the Soviet Union annexed Kazakhstan, many families have fled that country to Mongolia. Today, nearly 12% of the multi-cultural population of the western Mongolian aimag (province) of Hovd are Kazakhs. Traditional Kazakh culture here is quite intact and differs in various ways from the Mongolian. Most evidently, they still speak their own Turkic language, but also the Kazakh gers (yurts) are taller, wider, and more richly decorated than the Mongolian version.

Several times over our six days in Hovd we were treated to warm Kazakh hospitality and enjoyed up close views of family life in a ger.  In each of the Kazakh gers we entered, the entire round wall was covered with stunning embroidered tapestries called dream quilts.

Today I show you the wonderful quilt work of one Mongolian Kazakh woman.  In an earlier post here you can see her open her gate to welcome us into her ger. These photos with her various quilts were taken inside her ger.


Hovd, 2007

Cotton and wool threads are used for the extensive embroidery work and fine plush/velvet fabric is then used to make a border typically around three of the sides. Not shown in my photos is that the bottom edges of most quilts are left unfinished. There are two explanations  given. The first is  that life does not end and this is expressed by leaving room for a continuation of  the embroidery. The second, more mundane reason, is that since the bottom is tucked under a rug, table or bed anyway, why  finish it?

If you're into quilting, the colorful details are much better seen with photos enlarged:


In this final photo you can see the quilter with her mother, daughter and grandson - four generations of Mongolian Kazakhs.


Linking at Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday where you will find others playing with topics starting with the letter Q.

24 comments:

Pepe Le Pew said...

Those are pretty impressive.

Kay L. Davies said...

Gorgeous quilts, Francisca, fabulous photos as always. I've forward this link to my friend Carola whom I introduced on my blog for My World Tuesday this week. Quilting is only one of her many talents.
-- K

EG Wow said...

I enjoyed this post. The colours are outstanding! I used to do a LOT of needlework as it was my way of exercising my creativity. (Photography seems to have taken over that spot in my life.) I am also interested in geography and history, and had no idea the so many Kazakhs now live in Mongolia. Fascinating!

Andrea said...

hi Francisca, this is a very informative post, as i dont know much about these regions. I really envy your travels, how lovely to tag along with you to remote places like these.

taylorsoutback said...

Thank you for including larger images so that we can view detail of these fascinating quilts. I am seeing some similarities to Hmong quilting also yet these have their own beautiful uniqueness. Having quilted since 1982, I appreciate the workmanship from these gifted ladies.
Thank you so much for sharing.

Hilda said...

Oh my, that is absolutely stunning, amazing, gorgeous handicraft! How wonderful to see 4 generations together too. That is very rare in my family, so I can't help but be a little envious.

jabblog said...

Such beautiful, colourful, careful work. I like the thinking behind not finishing the bottoms of the quilts - for both reasons :-)

Vintagesouthernlife said...

These quilts are amazing! I love the detail work. I like their philosophy life does go and if it doesn't show why bother.

Gattina said...

Beautiful ! these are real artwork !

Vicki aka Jake said...

First visit here and all I can say is WOW! I may have to come back for another visit...
Beautiful quilts, not like the ones I usually see.Thanks for showing them.

fredamans said...

Quite beautiful. Very colorful quilts!

http://fredamans.blogspot.com/2011/02/alphabe-thursday-p-q-is-for-peaceful.html

JDaniel4's Mom said...

They made amazingly beautiful quilts.

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JM said...

Both patterns and colours are fantastic!

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

What amazing works of art! I truly enjoy traveling with you and your camera!

Sue said...

Fascinating stuff. Love the quilts, and I enjoy getting a feel for the women who create them.

=)

Judie said...

I have an artist friend who creates wall hangings that look very similiar to those quilts. She is an interior designer, and she only uses scraps left over from her design projects.
Your photography is wonderful. Thanks for a most interesting post!!

5thsister said...

Absolutely stunning! May we all leave room for life to carry on...

Halcyon said...

What a beautiful quilt. It's hard to imagine how much work must go into something like that.

Jingle said...

lovely quilts.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Simply amazing. I love the quilts and your photos and narrative that you've shared. I am a novice quilter, so seeing ones like these take my breath away. Wow! I wonder how long one of the quilts had taken for her to do. And if she worked on it by herself or with family members. Do you know if they ever sell them or are they created only for their family...to be passed down.
Ah! so many questons.

Blessings & Aloha!
Thank you for sharing!

H said...

Beautiful needlecraft! I am hopeless with anything fabric, so I am in awe. I love the rich colours and the diversity of the patterns; so intricate and attractive!

Angela said...

What an absolutely stunning work of art this woman has created.

The colors and designs are quite amazing.

Thanks for sharing such a rich and fascinating post with us this week for Alphabe-Thursday's letter "Q".

A+

Splendid Little Stars said...

Wow! Those are wonderful! I just had to go and look at your linked post as well. fascinating! Thanks for sharing!