Not all treasure is made of glimmering metal and sparkling gems. One wall of my living room is filled with colorful treasure, no gold or diamonds included.
By now you know I “need” to be surrounded with bright colors and fascinating patterns. Those things make my heart sing and keep me smiling, even on dismal, gray Ohio days. I absolutely LOVE the large wall hanging above our couch. It fills these needs in a glorious way!
Our oldest daughter Celia spent many years studying and working in Kazakhstan. Most of the time, she lived in one of the large, modern cities. However, she spent one summer during grad school working on a research project among Kazakh families living in Mongolia. While there, she purchased this wall hanging. Because she didn’t have wall space to display it, I was given temporary custody of the treasure.
This wall hanging is called a “tus kiis.” It is used as decoration on the walls of a yurt and is traditionally handmade. It adds color to a dark interior. It also adds warmth on cold nights. Aren’t the intricate details of the embroidery amazing?
The bottom edge of the “tus kiis” is left unfinished. Some say this is because it will be hidden by furniture (like in my house). Others suggest it is done this way because one’s life work is finished when the edge is closed off.
We spent three years living and working in Navajoland. While there, we learned there are many connections between Mongolian and Navajo culture and language. I took photos of some of our Navajo friends. These framed photos hang on the other side of the “tus kiis” to highlight these similarities. (In hindsight, I wish I had taken photos of traditional Navajo hogans—a wooden version of a yurt!)
Shh! Don’t tell my daughter—I’ve decided that this wonderful wall art is now officially MINE. She will just have to make another trip to Mongolia someday when she wants colorful treasure hanging on HER walls!
To learn more about “tus kiis” check out these resources: THIS ONE explains the process of making the “tus kiis.” THIS ONE has a wonderful photo of the inside of an elaborate yurt including a “tus kiis” quite similar to mine.
To read more stories about Kazakhstan written by my very talented daughter, check out the “world” section of her website www.thedumplingcart.org To read her children’s book about how a yurt is made, click HERE.