"Kazakh Craftswomen of Mongolia's 'Rich Cradle' " Exposition par Anna Portisch à Londres

Kazakh Craftswomen of Mongolia's 'Rich Cradle' An exhibition on craftswomen and their textiles

tapis kazakh

Brunei Gallery, SOAS. Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

9 July - 19 September 2009
Admission free
Open Tuesday - Saturday 10.30 - 17.00

 There will be a day of talks, film screenings and discussion on the 14 July (times to be confirmed but probably from 12.00 - 16.00).
This is intended as a friendly and informative session about the Kazakh of western Mongolia, their historical background, economic and political situation in Mongolia, daily life in this region and crafts production as part of this wider picture. The day is intended to be of interest to an academic audience as well as a broader public.

Two concerts are planned of Kazakh and British new music on the evening of the 25 August and the 17 September: programme to include music by Kazakh composers G. Zhubanova, Bakhtiar Amanzhol, Jamilia Jazylbekova and British composers Sadie Harrison and Jim Aitchison.

For further details of the exhibition and events please visit: http://www.soas.ac.uk/gallery


This exhibition focuses on Kazakh craftswomen living in the Altai Mountains of western Mongolia and their textiles. The aim of the exhibition is to bring to life the craftswomen behind the artefacts, the everyday lives of which these crafts are part, and the skills and processes involved in their production.

Kazakh textiles, and photographic and video material from the area will be displayed. A furnished yurt will show the home environment for which these textiles are made and which in turn works as a source of inspiration for craftswomen in their daily lives. Film screenings, talks and musical events are also planned.

The Kazakhs form the largest minority in Mongolia and live mainly in the western-most province of Bayan-Ölgii, meaning ‘Rich Cradle’ in Mongolian. Most Kazakhs in this remote, mountainous region are dependent on domestic animals for their livelihood. Many move up to several times a year with their herds between fixed seasonal settlements. Other families with smaller herds stay closer to their winter house during the summer but will nevertheless set up a yurt (kiiz yi, meaning ‘felt house’).

The summertime yurt (and to a lesser extent the winter house) is richly furnished with embroidered, felt and woven textiles. These textiles are made of a mixture of raw materials derived from local herds (for instance sheep’s wool and camel hair), but also integrate new materials, colours and designs. New tools and techniques are also developed by the craftswomen, resulting in changing styles and fashions in textile production. The exhibition focuses on these craftswomen, painting a picture of their creative practices and lives.