The Kazakh Yurta

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ONE OF THE GREATEST INVENTIONS, PRESENTED TO THE WORLD NOMADS, THE MARCHING HOUSE - A YURTA IS. PERHAPS, AND NOT TO RECOLLECT STRAIGHT OFF, WHAT ELSE ANCIENT THING - AFTER ALL TO A YURTA MORE THAN TWO AND A HALF THOUSAND YEARS! - USES TODAY SUCH DEMAND ANDSO IT IS NATURALLY ENTERED IN PRESENT INTERIORS. UNLESS A STIRRUP AND A SADDLE INVENTED BESIDES BY NOMADS.

 
The first mobile dwellings were on wheels, and there were they already during a bronze epoch. It were prototypes of the future yurta - tents and the tents rigidly strengthened on two-and four-wheel carts.
Yurtas on wheels are mentioned by Venetian Barbaro travelling in Desht-and-Kipchaksky steppe in XV century. «At these people in the use uncountable vehicles on two wheels, above ours, also are covered they by felt, other cloth if belong to eminent people».
Impresses the yurta image in «to the Book Marco Polo», published by Henry Julom.
«What humangous tents I have seen, put on wheels! Them as if have erected in air space. I have beheld extensive houses with the windows covered with felt curtains - very beautiful and skilful. All rate is filled by these excellent houses so the reason is amazed and the head from beauty, skill and graces» is turned. So describes yurtas in the beginning of XVI century Fazdallah ibn Ruzbihan.
Dwellings on vehicles were not unique or even essential for the nomads. Convenient for plains, they did not suit districts mountainous, crossed; therefore the dwelling which could be disassembled and transported on pack animals was required. The earliest images of such dwellings are recorded in a list on a wall of crypt Anthesteria in Crimea (I century B.C.) and among petroglyphs of Boyar pisanitza in Southern Siberia. And here orally the yurta is mentioned in II century B.C. in a poem of Chinese princess Si-Gun: «relatives in the distant party Have given out me; have given to another's kingdom for uysun tsar. He lives in the round hut fitted by felts, eats meat, drinks milk. As I will recollect Father-land, - heart aches.  A wild goose to turn back to me to return home» Yurta collecting similar on world creation . In the be- ginning there was a Door - the Gate from one world in another. Akbosaga - a threshold - border between the world external and the world human. Having risen in full growth, the Person has recollected the God and has uplifted a dome of the house and has made its window in the Sky.
altIn the Kazakh folklore there is such riddle:

One carpet is fleecy
And other is bald,
In addition there is felt. Hop! - I have exclaimed
And have risen into heavens, Have twisted, moved about
The earth terrestrial have trampled down!

The fluffy carpet is, of course, green grass, a bald carpet - the sky. Here is an answer: so put a yurta! This cosmogonic riddle
- the certificate of ancient representation of nomads: the world
- the big yurta, where a dome - the sky, шанырак - the sun, a floor underfoot - the earth, and kerege - parts of the world. Morning begins with sunrise. That is why the yurta door looks at the east. She always waits for a life dawn. The sun for the nomad - the main visitor in this world, without it is not present a life on the earth. The sun - the Tsar of all real on the earth. He rises over the World threshold, crosses it, - and the world into which the Tsar has entered, revives.
The good daughter-in-law of the first meets morning and hastens to open tundik - a coverlet of night to let in the house the first beams of the sun. The sun, as well as is neces ary to the visitor, ascends on tor' - the place of honour in a yurta - and sits down on the throne. Everything that is at the left the Tsar, personifies a constancy of the world to which the God of the nature has a kind feeling. This female side is life affirming. Here a  person is  the master of  his/her riches.
 
Everything, that is on the right of the Tsar, personifies the Way-road, eternal change of day and night, a world of vanity. It is the side - man's, unpredictable, full of alarms and tests. Here the person feels the visitor in this world. The soldier, the hunter, the defender of the house and herd, it is always ready to leave in a campaign.
West side of the Universal yurta - a sunset - the most forbidden and mysterious. It is similar to an all-consuming black hole in which all is overthrown live and consequently it is curtained by the most magnificent carpets here again there are chests with all acquired good of the nomad. These gifts of a life - symbols of the terrestrial blessing - people - only actors cover a life terres trial from the world of shades, like the magnificent background decorating a scene, on which.
The yurta skeleton consists of four basic elements: it Shanyrak - a circular dome cover; u-yk - the dome poles supporting Sh- anyrak; kerege - a sliding trellised basis; yesik - a wooden door with shutters.
Yurta skeleton is made of a steppe willow - purple or rose willow that it is light and strong. A dome - Shanyrak – is made from a birch. Kerege of yurtas is made of separate section-wings. A usual yurta is six wings (alty kanatty kiiz uy). But yurtas from 14-16 wings are known. Khan Zhangir has pre- sented to tsar Nikolay II 18-rope yurta, that is three times there is more than usual.
Shanyrak  consists of a rim and rasporno-fixing laths-  kuldireuyish  (usu- ally on three in each plane, located under a right angle to each other). In the past the yurta skeleton was decorated by silver patten plates or inlaid with inserts from a bone.
The yurta door - sykyrlau-yk (skripu- chka) - consists of three parts: a jamb, wooden shutters and a felt cape (kiiz yesik) with the filed patten mat. The jamb includes: lateral racks - bosaga, a threshold - tabyldyryk and the top crossbeam of a jamb - mandaisha. Yurta assemblage  begins with doorinstallation. A door - a face of a yurta. That is why it decorate a figured carving and coloured by paints. The door invites the visitor in the family world, a door - a mirror of well-being of the house.
Shanyrak - the Sun wheel - the life symbol has outgrown in a symbol of continuation of a sort. It passed from father to son. Shanyrak darkened in due course from a centre smoke, but than more darkly, than ancient it was, especially was esteemed by all members of household. «Kara shanyrak» Kazakhs the fatherlike house, a family nest name. It is inherited by the most younger in a sort.
Kazakhs name a yurta kii uy - the felt house. And it is valid, it all is weaved from the Gold Fleece. Not without reason in the Chinese annals of Kazakhs call people of felt. Cut on spring the sheep wool fingered hands, shook up rods from the meadow-sweet, transforming it in gentle weightless down. Stacked layers, gave to drink boiled wa- ter, turned in mats, rolled by the ground feet, rumpled elbows that it has turned out, eventually, strong felt. Having passed all this wearisome process under a rhythmical song rollers, the steppe carpet became the most invaluable product in use of the nomad. It covered a yurta, protected members of household  from the  sun,  a  wind and  a   moisture, warmed and decorated  a floor, transformed walls into gallery of carpet painting.  Thus, dressed in оболоку a wool the yurta showed one more image of the Gold Fleece, one more grateful hymn to a sheep - to an ancient symbol of divine good fortune. Not without reason the selected khan in steppe lifted on white felt. Ritual symbolised its birth in the new status.
Goddesses of human destiny - parks - twist a thread of a human life. The birth of the felt house - yurtas - begins with hard work of the Kazakh weavers. Spinners, weavers, braiders, they transform in the magic image a wool into hanks of threads, cords, strong woven tapes - bau, tangysh by which are fastened side doors and kerege, and also kerege among themselves.
It was in a special way weaved on the machine tool baskur is a wide patten woven tape pulls together outside a lattice together with fastenings and уыками, being, thus, structurally important element in architecture of a yurta.
Surprising fairy tale the birth of mats from Achnatherum seems- it is possible to tell, from anything. Arrow-shaped stalks of Achnatherum, the steppe reed, wrapped up by colour woollen threads and connected with each other, turn to the bright, joy- ful crossword puzzles which sections are filled by mysterious letters of the forgotten alphabet.
In a heat felt from yurta sides are removed and leave shym shii - Achnatherum mats through which the fresh breeze easily nestles close. Tuyrlyks, rectangular pieces of felt, cover kerege and the bottom part of a dome. Two felts of the trapezoid form- uzik - cover a dome. The square piece of felt mat tundik is thrown over sunroof window of a yurta. A yurta surround with a lasso beldeu and a narrow wattled strip beldeu bau.
Now it is possible to be engaged in internal furniture of a yurta. From within the design of the steppe house becomes stronger narrow tapes - zhelbau. In case of a strong wind they turn to anchor ropes to which adhere heavy cargo.
The floor of the nomadic house is warmed by tekemets - felt carpets with slightly dim colourful patterns. For all life the Kazakh who has born in a yurta will remember its prickly tenderness, so similar to the multiсoloured childhood with its first short steps and cones. Tekemets changed a yurta as though the Lord has decorated the earth by motley grass, granting heat and aroma of the protogenic nature.
 
 
Quilted carpets - syrmaks as if competing with tekmets, cov- ered a floor and yurta walls. The accurate ornamental pattern of two-three colours is quilted by a woollen thread and lasts, as if a never-ending way. The most known kind syrmaka and is called: betpes - inexhaustible. It symbolised itself an idea of infinity of the world.
Alasha - one more kind of the Kazakh carpet sewed from woven strips. In transfer means motley, striped. It is weaved on the special machine tool - to a forage. Alasha - the carpet poem written in the rhymed colour lines, a poem-message from the remote past in the infinite future.
Nature pictures, a landscape of native places are coded by the Kazakh needlewomen in nap and pileless woven carpets- kilems. The central field of such carpets and is called: кол - lake, a border round lake - korgan, korshau, that is a fencing, coast. And the strips dividing a carpet, the rivers - a sou. The ornament transfers outlines of mountains, trees, animals and birds.
 
 
But the brightest ornament of a yurta is tuskiiz - a wall car- pet. The richest tuskiiz are finished by precious fabrics and inserts, decorated by a rich embroidery, on edge the carpet was sheathed by a twisted cord. Special refinement, riches was given to tuskiiz by an embroidery platform, a smooth surface, gold sewing. The P-shaped frame - the characteristic element of tuskiiz - underlined a place of honour in a yurta, giving to it original similarity with a back of a throne. Wall carpets strictly regulated internal space of a yurta, dividing it on seven zones which borders are observed since the most ancient times up to now.
The sacral centre - the centre, dastarkhan. A symbol of a family happiness.
Place of honour for visitors - tor'. A glory and riches embodi- ment.
Place for visitors - a symbol new and coming. Bedchamber. A symbol of a family nest. "Office" of the husband. Here symbols of hunt- ing, extraction, good luck are stored.Corner of the mistress -symbols of keepers of the blessing.Threshold - bosagа. Sacral bor- der of the house and an external world.

On  a  female half in   its   uppermost corner there is  a wooden bed of owners  -  agashtosek; or tosagash - a bed decorated     with bone and silver plates. Bed of owners - blankets and pillows- are taken away by a curtain. Whatever respected was the visitor, to it never will suggest to spend the night in master's bed. Any subject - neither blankets, nor pillows master's - should not adjoin to a stranger Kazakhs, otherwise, considered, the happiness will leave owners.
Here the cradle for the newborn is installed Prematurely born child was nursed in tymak - a winter headdress, suspending it over a bed.
More close to an entrance- a work zone. The case with ware - asadal or kebezhe where stored also dried meat, kurt - the dried added some salt sheep cheese, tea Here settles down. On kerege hang valises - korzhyn, dorba, ayak kap - for storage and ware transportation. Under them a huge wineskin for koumiss- soba.
It is necessary to notice, Kazakhs the best in the house "put by" all, hold for emergency for visitors.
A shame for a family, in which house will not be what to expose on a table. Even the best things in the house are stored in quality of a gift to the visitor not to spend him with empty hands. This line of the Kazakh hospitality - a tribute of nomadic tradition.
On a  man's half, is closer to торю, the symbol of the man's   beginning was    established adalbakan.  On it the outer clothing of the owner was hanged out. Further rather poor owners could have a bed of the married son who yet has not separated from parents. Or the maiden bed of the daughter. It also is cleaned by a silk curtain - shymyldyk.
 
 
As a whole this half guest.
Sons, having grown up, will lift the yurtas, younger will take a place of the father. The daughter - too the visitor, it here lives till a time, and will marry - will leave in other house. It and named: «konak» or «on zhakta otyrgan kyz» («the girl that sits in the right half of house»).
Here transferred a body of the dead owner, henceforth  it too "visitor" who goes to a long jour- ney - in the world other.
The hunting trophies - the wolf skins, musical instruments, and the weapon were hanged out. More close to a threshold there was an equipment  of a horse, the lifelong companion of the no- mad - a saddle, a harness. Horse bridles were hanged out along a wall on sharp tips kerege.
In the yurta centre on a tripod-tagan - stood Kazan. Kazan never leave opened or empty. This most sacred place. Here the house centre is located. In Kazakh language otbasy - that lit- erarily means: «fire head», that is a place where fire originates. There, where fire is lit, there begins a life, there is a family. Here prepared food, here were brought a victim to sacred Fire - to the owner of the centre. Food - the Good symbol. Let though an oil spoon at the bottom, but it will be obligatory in казане, it is important, that it was not empty.
«Yes let the food in this house never end!» - Kazakhs wished to each other, finishing any meal.

Far ancestors of Kazakhs, Turks, idolized the Sky - Tengri which all-seeing eye accompanied the nomad wandering with the herd on a palm of steppe. They rejoiced to the first beams of the Sun, the newborn Moon, the first sprouts of the green grass, the first spring milk, the first lamb and, certainly, to the first child therefore as all is the Life phenomena so, Pleasures. After all to live means to rejoice!
In each spring Kazakhs move to southern slopes of mountains- are closer to the sun, to the first grass that all pets could be supported and poured by a fat more likely. They will be stronger, the will be born darlings to heart of the nomad of lambs, kids, foals and fluffy верблюжат with the big damp eyes more. Kazakhs on green Alpine meadows, and all the summer long spend in the autumn when already all grass in district объедена cattle, rise from summer pastures and move after heat on
the south - in semi-deserts where there are no strong snow blizzards, and spend there all severe winter. So upwards - to mountains, downwards  - in valleys, also nomads, like birds
of   passage  wander all life. That is  why  Kazakhs consider  as   the distant ancestors of wild geese and swans. Birds fly on autumn on the south, and кош moves trace. And the greatest road covered with stars, - theMilky Way - Kazakhs call Kus Zholy - the Bird's road.
Of what dreams Wandering on steppe open-air? In its long way the sun mercilessly scorches, pulls out a wind, it lashes rain, freezes a frost and sprinkles snow. The destiny of the wanderer is hard, and its desires are simple: to get warm at a fire, to eat- have a drink something hot, to have a rest under a dry shelter, far from wild animals to forget all fears and the alarms over- coming it in a way. All it gives it Fire - the Center. Cleanliness, the Blessing, Protection - here that means Fire. And there, where have lodged Harm and Illnesses, the Kazakh necessarily light fire. Of fire are afraid not only wild animals, but also evil ghosts, he considered.
In the people the ancient pray turned to Fire has remained: Ot-Apa, May-Ana, жарылка! - which is possible to translate: Mother-Fire, Mother Umaj, ac- cept and bless! - thus the bride poured out in fire a ladle of the kindled fat, as though bring ing it in a victim to Spirit of a home. It is an obligatory part of a wedding ceremony.  Fire acts here in a role of the owner of the house which could accept, and could and not accept an- other's person in the family.
Putting young a wedding yurta – otau uy - from white felt, decorated with colourful tapes and cords, the mistress of the centre takes burning coals from the centre and, having brought them in the new house - a yurta of a newly-married couple, возжигает fire under them казаном, thereby as though speak- ing: you - a part of the big house where fire of a family clan burns. Otau ui - from a word «ot alu» - to take fire that has been connected with branch young from the big yurta, thus they in- herited small Kazan.
Yes Fire in your centre will not go out, yes there will be peace in your house!

The yurta has no windows, i.e. eyes and consequently she listens to steppe.
Having heard, that the horseman has dismounted at some distance, owners, sitting in a yurta, know, that there has arrived the peace visitor. If hoofs continue to sound and the horseman reaches to a threshold or it the black messenger, or this visitor wishes to offend owners.
     The horseman should dismount from a horse and approach to a yurta on the right side.
   The enemy runs into a yurta, the black messenger runs all over a yurta around and comes a foot on a house threshold before  to inform the owner of the house a terrible message.
    Threshold cross the right foot, low having inclined a head, expressing  to that respect for owners. To
   arrive on the contrary means to offend honour and advantage of this house, the owner, all its  sort.  And that it has not occurred    by absent-mindedness and negligence, a threshold intentionally do high, and a door lintel - low.

Kazakhs believed, that the soul of the person travels from the top world in bottom - being born, and, on the contrary, from bottom in top - leaving a body. So the nomad travels to lives, going down in the autumn in valleys and rising in the spring in mountains. So leaves fall down in the autumn and lift branches with foliage by the spring, to the sky. And in a yurta you wander from below upwards - from a door to a place of honour depending on your social importance. Tor’ and bosaga - the sky and the earth, top and a yurta bottom. The more honored visitor, the above it sits. Zhogary shygynyz - pass above, the owner invites, meeting you at a house threshold. Isn't that so, sounds not only how the invitation, but also how a kind wish to reach tops, glory in the way?
And this ode is written a yurta in VIII century of our era by the Chinese poet Bo-Tszjui whom, certainly, it is difficult to convict of any self-interest for the nomadic culture was alien to the people which have protected from attacks of steppers behind the Great Chinese wall. And nevertheless this verse has remained in memory of the settled people as an example of sincere admiration of a masterpiece of nomadic culture:

Wool have been collected from thousands of sheep, Two hundred rings were forged for me,
Round skeleton from coastal willows
It is strong, fresh, convenient and beautiful. In northern transparent blue sky
A warrior put a yurta on a grass, And now, as a blue haze,
Together with him it has come to the south. The whirlwind cannot sway a yurta,
From rain its breast hardens.
There are no closed spaces or corners in it
But inside it is cosy and warm.
Having left the steppes and mountains, Yurta has wandered to my court yard. Its shade is fine under the moon,
And in the winter it is always with me. Felt against hoarfrost is a wall,
Snow veil is not frightening. There satiny furs lay,
Covering strings melodious number. There a singer sits down aside,
There a dancer dances by fire.
To me it is more lovely to enter yurta, than a house, Then drunk - I sleep on dry felt.
The fireplace crimson lights
Are cheerfully interweaving in the shades. Pieces of coal conceal heat in themselves,
As if they are orchids in the morning. Slowly over a twilight empty
The night sacred smoke lasts. Ink frozen, and here thaws
Verse as the falls in the spring, flow. Even to bed curtains from orchids
Not to carry away from these yurtas of people. That who in tents from a reed,
The soft winter and that is bitter.
The yurta will be envied by the monk And the schoolboy confused in debts. I will receive visitors in a yurta,
The yurta will be saved up by me for children.
The prince has covered the palaces with a carving - That they before a yurta blue!
I to upper-class princely sorts
Yurta for palaces them I will not give.

The crossed threshold of a yurta and departed from it on 40 steps - already the traveller given and the protection of the Sky. Henceforth its cradle - a saddle, he is an adherent of Road, eternally young Odysseus. It becomes the Centaur - will merge soul and a body with a horse and will idolize him, as most true companion. It will combine belongings in bales and will break a yurta - nomadic dwelling, will load it on a camel and, like a snail everywhere dragging the house on a back, again there is in road therefore as road are the new pastures, growing fat cat- tle, beauty of steppes, conversation under the clear moon at live fire and eternal cares of the deity - a Sheep which embodiment and to this day remain - Kazakh dastarkhan, figured tekemets and, certainly, a yurta - the marching house of a nomad since the most ancient times - both in heat, and in an icy cold same invariable as the sky over a head and the earth under hoofs of horses.