Embroidered with a traditional Kirghiz pattern on thick hand-rolled felt, this large bag evokes the nomadic life of the people of Kirghizstan in Central Asia. Bags in this style held household items and were hung on the walls of felt yurts. When it was time to fold the yurt and move on, the bags with the contents simply were slung on the camels' backs--no packing required. This bag was made by women from Kara-Kol, a valley town in the Tien Shan Mountains. They have formed a cooperative to produce felt items in the traditional Kirghiz way--shearing the sheep, rolling the wool in bamboo mats to form felt (amazingly labor-intensive), dyeing the felt and using the distinctive Kirghiz patterns to create yurt bags, cushions and rugs. This bag is "shyrdak" style, which means felt designs are cut out and embroidered on the felt bag. With the other method of making Kirghiz felt, called "ala-kiyiz" and used primarily for rugs, the designs are rolled right into the felt as it is made. Shyrdak felt items are made to withstand nomadic life and, according to the Kirghiz coop women, last for 30 or 40 years. All edges on the bag are tightly bound with a thread technique similar to a buttonhole stitch; the inside is lined with cotton in a matching wine color. A long flap folds down over the front of the bag. Because it is hand dyed, the felt is colored unevenly, giving depth to the surface. Made during the mid-1990s, this bag is in perfect condition and would make a striking wall hanging. Dimensions: height 23" (59 cm), width 24" (61 cm).