The Aram K. Jerrehian Kirghiz Reed Screen
Kirghiz Reed Screen
A Kirghiz reed screen, North Turkestan,
first quarter 20th century, minor losses to wrapping, approximately 10ft. 4in. by 5ft. 8in. (3.15 by 1.73m.)
Reed screens such as this one are known as Chirmagan ashkana chiy ( kitchen screens) and are traditionally used in the yurt as free-standing space dividers. Although essentially functional such screens are elaborately decorated with designs that are closely related to the motifs and format of Turkman knotted pile and felt weavings. Trimmed reeds are individually wrapped in dyed wool and bound together at a loom. As such screens are made of perishable materials and were routinely discarded and replaced, very few examples of any age have been preserved. Perhaps the oldest known examples, collected by S. M. Dudin in 1901, are now in the Ethnographic Museum in St. Petersburg.
A similar reed screen is illustrated in Hali, Issue 75, p.115. For a full discussion of the construction, usage and history of such weavings see: Oriental Rug Review, Vol.11/6 and Vol.12/1, Mateeva, Stella & Dr. Jon Thompson, Patterned Reed Screens of the Kirghiz