About Anne Marie and the Tush Kyiz
 

          I lived in Central Asia from 2003-2006, working as a teacher-trainer to introduce new methods of teaching English in the countries of the former Soviet Union. I lived in Kyrgyzstan—a mountainous country west of China, south of Russia and about the size of South Dakota. While there I became fascinated with the beautiful, historical textiles called “tush kyiz” (literally, wall embroideries). They are large, elaborately embroidered wall hangings, made several generations ago in Kyrgyzstan by elder women—master seamstresses called “saimachy”—to commemorate the marriage of a son or daughter. Every yurt was proud of their tush kyiz which expressed the originality and creativity of its people and symbolized pride and allegiance to Kyrgyz traditions.

          I did not mean to begin a large collection, but I was enthralled with the unique artistry and extraordinary workmanship in these textiles. Through research and interviews, I have learned what these treasures once meant to the nomadic Kyrgyz people, but the Kyrgyz no longer practice this craft nor do they especially value them as emblems of their heritage. I want to preserve and exhibit this lost art, and present an educational experience about the life, history and philosophy of nomadic people as it is represented in these textiles.

      Even if one knows nothing about the philosophy embedded within these creations, the tush kyiz are impressive works of art and craftsmanship that should be shared with the world. I want to preserve and exhibit this lost art, and present an educational experience about the life, history and philosophy of the nomadic Kyrgyz people as it is represented in the unique form of  tush kyiz.

      The collection is available for exhibition and I am available for presentations on how to interpret the symbols in this ancient art to discover what they reveal about nomadic life in Central Asia. See "Imagery and Imagination--What do the Designs Mean?"