Carpet weaving is one of the most ancient crafts of the Kazakh people, rooted deep in history. Carpets at all times were considered the main decoration of the dwelling.

They were necessarily included in the dowry of the bride, presented to the most respected guests. The secrets of carpet-making were passed down from generation to generation. For the Kazakhs, this art has always been not just a craftsmanship, but was the embodiment of the spirit of the people. Patterns of ancient carpets reveal to us the innermost thoughts and secrets of masters, as well as indicate the time and place of their manufacture.

They hide a lot of information that we descendants have to decipher. These are a kind of flash drives that store stories about the era of our ancestors. The connoisseur and admirer of folk art from Shymkent D. is sure of this. Bektayeva. Dana Erikovna has been collecting handmade Kazakh national carpets for more than ten years. There are already more than 500 of them in her private collection: pile and pile-free, paths woven in the XIX and XX centuries. There are also ancient chests, bascourt – a patterned woven band for the design of a yurt, as well as for external tightening of the junction with the kerege. All this wealth is stored in the apartment of Dana herself, as well as in rented warehouses. Dana Bektaeva admits that at first she planned to start a business on this. I traveled to the most remote villages of Kyzylorda, Atyrau, Almaty regions, South Kazakhstan in search of real masterpieces of carpet weaving, I met with craftsmen, who today are few. Invested huge funds, including borrowed. I even had to sell the apartment. But at some point, she realized that this asset must be preserved. After all, buyers are mainly foreigners who want to replenish their collections. Dana Bektaev gave the 400 rarest carpets for examination to the specialists of the Kasteev Museum. And now these woven masterpieces cannot be exported from Kazakhstan.


Dana can talk about her passion for life for hours. Relatives, when visiting, often ask her at least at the table to forget about carpets for a short time. Her love for them began in childhood. She often stayed in the aul with her grandmother. And the most vivid memory – how rural women painted wool, spun yarn, collectively woven carpet. Growing up, she, seeing somewhere handmade carpet, tried to buy it.

“I remember that I didn’t even have an apartment, but there was a carpet that I kept at my sister’s house,” recalls Dana Erikovna. – I gave carpets to relatives, asked that they definitely keep. Even in my tales that I write for children, I say that you always need to follow the call of the heart. For many years I studied at the medical academy, although I was always involved in art, folk craft. And years later, I still took up a business that I really like. Surprisingly, there are a lot of ornaments on Kazakh carpets, but they do not strain, but, on the contrary, give a sense of harmony. Through them we can understand what our ancestors thought about, what they were interested in, what their world was like.


On Instagram, D. Bektaev leads his page, on which about five thousand people from different countries are signed, most of them are young people. Here Dana shares ethnolinguistic studies with subscribers, talks about the meaning of patterns, ancient carpet weaving techniques.
In the exhibition center Krme there took place the online exhibition of carpets of D. Bektayeva “Babadang қалған боз k_ly”. Within two days, everyone could become its participants. I was lucky enough to visit her offline and see with my own eyes all the splendor of ancient craft. Personally, I learned a lot of new information for myself. It turns out that earlier young cells could not stay in the house before the birth of the child. Therefore, they sent their parents a message using a carpet. If the patterns on it are beautiful, and the colors are bright and juicy, then everything is in order with her, and if on the contrary, then she lives tight.

Today it is possible to process carpets from natural materials with special means against moths. And our grandmothers, when they washed and painted wool, added a lot of salt so that the insects could spoil the carpet. Attention was drawn to the carpet, one part of which was light and the other dark. Dana explains that perhaps so craftsmen wanted to show that our life consists of white and black stripes, that night is always replaced by day. And old school (old school) explains it with the fact that if in the house where they weaved a carpet, there was a sad event – one of relatives died, then work was postponed for forty days and when continued, chose dark colors.

If the craftsmen were offended by the person who ordered the carpet, they could deliberately poke out one of the patterns incorrectly. By the way, there is such an example in the collection of Dana. Weaving carpets is always asar. And gossiping, swearing, saying bad words behind this business was strictly forbidden, because the product should absorb only good energy.

The owner of the collection offered to look at the carpet woven by Kazakhs from Mongolia, presented to her by her uncle. Nearby for comparison are carpets of Kazakh craftsmen from Uzbekistan and Western Kazakhstan. These three works are made in different places, but they show one motive. The ornaments are almost the same. This means that even at great distances the same culture was preserved.

Of great value is the so-called carpet of Abylaykhan, replete with signs of power. There are only 7-8 such works in Kazakhstan. And each of them is worth a fortune.

On one of the carpets, which is called the Arab kilemi, woven in 1956, there is a camel pattern. Whereas the Kazakhs never portrayed this animal. Another similar copy is in the fund of the Kasteev Museum.

Kazakh carpets are divided into two categories: pile and pile-free. Carpets with a pile were made in the southern regions of the country, they are characterized by the presence of a curb and a central part, the pattern was usually plant or geometric. Ancient pile carpets of craftsmen of South Kazakhstan are struck by the cunning of sockets, rhombuses, stars and all kinds of stepped figures.

Pile-free carpets were common in the eastern and western regions of the country, zoomorphic ornaments, symbols of household objects, and geometric figures prevailed in their ornament. Plant patterns on pile-free carpets are quite rare. As a material for carpets, Kazakh craftsmen used sheep, goat and camel wool, as well as silk, cotton, flax, hemp in various combinations. – Iran, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan are considered the birthplace of carpets, but the Kazakhs also perfectly owned this craft, “says D. Bektaeva. – Carpet products allow to fully convey the world’s sensory Kazakh carpets are little studied and harbor many more secrets.

Dana Erikovna advocates opening a carpet museum in Kazakhstan, as they did in Azerbaijan. It’s a real treasure trove. His fund holds ten thousand rare creations. The area of ​ ​ the five-story building is five thousand square meters.

Carpets are an invaluable asset that we must preserve for posterity. They need to be popularized. The museum dedicated to them could serve not only scientific, research purposes, but would also become a popular tourist destination.

Saltanat Abdizhapparova

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