August 17, 2011

E is for Embroidery

Today, when the letter at ABC Wednesday is E, I'd like to show you some more exquisite embroidery of the Kazakhs in Mongolia. 

Earlier this year, I introduced a Kazakh embroiderer of dream quilts. She and the four generations of her family live in the small town of Hovd, capital of the far western aimag (province) bearing the same name.

Deep in the interior, in the remotest areas of the aimag, our small group was warmly welcomed as honored guests into a number of family dwellings called gers.

Hovd, Mongolia, 2007

Also known as yurts, gers are nomadic tents typically made of white felt (heavy canvas) covering a wood lattice frame. First seen from the top of a hill, you are about to enter this ger with a colorful door.
 

Of the various ethnic peoples living harmoniously in Hovd, it is the Kazakhs who decorate their homes most handsomely. They typically cover the entire wall of their ger with intricately embroidered quilts and other adornments in brilliant colors. The designs are traditional, often with creative and unique adaptations.

This is the family that lives here, in the most splendid of gers. In stark contrast to the barren landscape outside, the interior was warm and bright.


The elder woman was happy to tell us about her various kinds of embroidery projects.



Towards the end of her presentation, she pulled out one of the more beautiful dream quilts I have seen. She told us she had embroidered it before her marriage to her husband. Her eyes told me she was struggling with the idea, but ultimately she told us she wanted to sell it. I bought it for her asking price, and here I sit holding it with her. Isn't it a beaut!?

photo taken by my good friend and travel mate Ruth Malloy

Here is a video of how this embroidery is done.

34 comments:

cieldequimper said...

This post is like a dream for me...

Sylvia K said...

I agree with Cieldequimper, a dream for me as well! What a fantastic trip/visit! And the quilts are incredible! Awesome post and photos for the E Day, Francisca! Hope your week is going well!

Sylvia

Roger Owen Green said...

definitely not in my skill set, but lovely.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Nanka said...

Excellent and very interesting read, just the kind I love and want to know about, of strange places, the people and their lives!! The marvelous and vibrantl colors on the inside of the tent amply compensates for the barren landscape!!

joo said...

The quilt is gorgeous!!!!! Love this post - people are so skilled!
Going back to Bucharest? Wow, lucky you:)
Hugs
j.

fredamans said...

She is a very talented seamstress. Though what caught my eye was that landscape.... almost barren looking.

Gigi Ann said...

Lovely E day post today.

Dimple said...

So lovely, and what a lot of work it represents! Thank you for giving her the asking price...

Pat Tillett said...

Wow! That (and those) are so beautiful. Living history, right there... Very nice post!

Jacob said...

Fascinating. Talk about desolate. I was also struck by the contrast between the outside and inside. The colors are magnificent and the workmanship a delight. You were very fortunate to have been able to buy one of those quilts!

So nice to hear from you again. Looks like you are having fun!

jennyfreckles said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes - for the history and the character of those people living in such beauty in such a barren landscape - and for the woman's personal story... which in the end is perhaps not so different, at heart, from yours and mine.

EG Wow said...

Oh my goodness! How could she part with it?

Jane and Chris said...

The inside of the yurt is in absolute contrast to the outside. It's stunning.
Jane x

Cassy said...

I highly appreciate her being creative. I dont have the same skills set but I'm loving it....

Thanks for sharing.

Cassy from Beginner Free Guitar Lessons

Andy said...

Hello.
WoW! The mountain view is amazing! What a contrast between the backdrop & the colored door.
The embroidery work is exquisite. Such talent they possess. I watched the video & can't believe how fast she was, but her hand was so light at work.

Awesome post!

Thanks for sharing.

Evening Wind

Andrea said...

This is an awesome post, i am amazed at the landscape and the conditions they are in. It's good they don't have typhoons or floods. Old cultures of all traditions have skills and knowledge our present generation always look in awe. Francisca, you should compile all your travel wonders in a coffee table book. That will be very interesting for collection, i reserve a copy.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh just Wow!!! She was happy the quilt went to someone who would appreciate it. When you say the woman was happy to answer questions I wonder do you speak her language? Or vice versa? (This is -- almost literally -- a whole new world for me.)

Anita Johnson said...

I just watched the video, I love the rhythm in her stitching. These pieces are just beautiful!

Francisca said...

@Sallie... besides the driver of our van, we had an outstanding and amiable guide / translator with us.

Kathy said...

Fascinating! What a beautiful artform and you are so blessed to have that wonderful quilt as a possession.

chubskulit said...

Lovely embroidery design.

Epcot's Spaceship Earth, please come and see.

sarah said...

Hello,Francisca.
Thank you for sharing inside the tent. It looks a cosy place in the vast desolate space.She is making many gorgeous embroidery,maybe to live.I was surprised at her speed of making.
Sarah.

Cildemer said...

Oh wow! Fantastic post for ABC! Those embroideries are magnificient!
Thanks for sharing your beautiful pics;o)

***
Hope you are having a nice and happy week****

Shooting Parrots said...

I really like the yurts -- they look to be a part of the landscape.

jabblog said...

What rich and beautiful interiors. I was fascinated by the video. It looks as though the embroidery is done with something like a crochet hook and the speed and dexterity of the embroiderer are amazing.

Gattina said...

How intereting and what a beautiful work !!
Gattina
ABC Team

photowannabe said...

Unbelievable craftmanship.
Your precious quilt must have taken her many, many hours. It really boggles my mind to see the intricate stiches in the piece.
Mongolia must have been a most fascinating place to visit. the people are beautiful.

Wanda said...

Oh my goodness, what extraordinary quilting. The details and colors are amazing. I love the faces of the women who have made these masterpieces.

anjoe playhouse said...

But if her story was not true, I don't care, 'cause the price must have been low, never the less ;-) These workers do deserve to get there things sold! Great photos :-D

Birdman said...

Wow! Some colorful examples in these photos.

Kaori said...

I would never have imagined how bright and beautiful from your outside shots of their ger! The quilt is absolutely beautiful. I love this post. We have a lot of Mongolian sumo wrestlers here and I've always been interested in their culture :D

JM said...

Fascinating post, Francisca! I don't know if I already asked you this, but have you seen "The story of the Weeping Camel"? It's fantastic! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDpneKa9YxA

Linnea said...

What an interesting location you went to. Those yurts certainly are colorful inside. Thanks for sharing this great E post. Thanks for stopping by!

sharplittlepencil said...

I am so happy to have found your blog at ABC Wednesday. Not only are you a free spirit, you have a lovely cultural sense. Who would know that a solid-white yurt with a colorful door would be an explosion of crafting and love and color inside? Thank you so much for this! Amy Barlow Liberatore
A poem for you (actually three!):
http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/three-prompts-three-poems/