A shyrdak is a carpet made of felt base with pieces of colored felt sewn on to form patterns or motifs.
The Kyrgyz began to use felt to make carpets and other household items back in antiquity. Various factors have influenced the development and improvement the art on the shyrdak – living conditions, climate, environmental conditions and social status.
Shyrdaks are created using a mosaic technique. Often they are made by women working in groups that mainly include representatives of the same family. The shyrdak was considered to be one of the most valuable household items and was therefore part of every girl’s dowry.
Among the traditional motifs on shyrdaks are animals, deer horns and symbols representing health, happiness and good fortune. Today, shyrdak carpets are made in the Naryn and Issyk-Kul regions. They are still given to girls as a dowry on their wedding day. The shyrdak is now included in UNESCO’s cultural heritage list.