Other Handcrafts

Kirghiz leatherwork is related to their carving. Flasks for kumiss have the form of twinned scrolls and are covered with stamped designs. Stamping is also used to decorate leather pails, cases for cups, boxes, harnesses, and other objects. By varying their ornamentation and manufacturing techniques, for example combining stamped designs with colored leather or cloth applique, decorative stitches, or fancy-shaped metal plates, the craftsmen further enhanced the attractiveness of their articles.

Metalwork is also a highly developed art in Kirghizia. Stamping, chasing, and damascening are all techniques used in the making of harnesses, while granulation, filigree, and insets of cornelian, turquoise, and coral decorate women's personal ornaments. Kirghiz goldsmiths and jewelers do not favor jagged, angular outlines or fragmented forms. By contrasting lignt and dark colors, small and large details, plain and relief surfaces, they achieve a play of light that enhances the decorative quality and attractiveness of their jewelry.

Although Kirghiz folk art has much in common with the arts of the Turkmenians and Kara-Kalpaks, it is particularly close to Kazakh art, with which it shares not only its system of imagery but even its basic concepts of ornamentation and design.

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