The pure white yurt of Kazak Ethnic Group

From ancient times to the present, the Hazak nationality has been engaged in animal husbandry, and living a nomadic life. Their traditional dwelling houses were the felt houses that were easy to disassemble and take with. They are the “living fossil” that carries their history of more than 2000 years. According to the historical records, Wusun people, the remote ancestors of the Hazak nationality, dwelled in the felt houses. In 105 B.C (the Han dynasty), Xijun princess, who married the King of Wusun people, Kunmo, wrote in Yellow Swan Song: “taking the sky as room and felt as wall, taking meat as food and jelly as thick liquid.” This shows that the Hazak nationality had lived in felt houses before more than 2000 years. 

The felt houses of the Hazak nationality are in two types: big and small. The big felt house is made up of two parts, the lower part is in cylindrical shape, and the upper part is in round bow shape; the other type is the small felt house, which is in taper shape.

As the term suggests, the main raw materials of the felt houses are felt, but the frame is made of special red willow wood on the pasture. It is made up of many woven walls in the shape of net squares. The woven wall is about 1.5 meters in height, and each wall is about 3.2 meters in width. According to the different sizes of felt houses, they are made up of 6 to 12 woven walls. Because the woven walls can be extended and contracted, people can open them when putting up the house, and closed up and tied up them when moving. They are convenient, solid and durable.

The upper umbrella-and-bow shape roof is mainly composed of round skylight and vaulting poles. The diameter of the skylight is about 1 meter. The bow-shape red willow wood is processed into round shape, and is drilled with scores of small holes. Stuff the upper end of the vaulting pole into the small hole, wrap up the connected point with unprocessed wet camel fur and dry it in the sun, then use the thin wood in the shape of semicircle to imbed them crossly in the roof of the skylight, just like a pot bottom facing the sky. The upper part of the vaulting pole is perfectly straight, the top end is with smooth, thin and round arrowhead, the pole is about 3 meters in length, the lower part is in curved shape. When the woven walls are joined together and bound up into walls, the arrowheads of the vaulting poles are plugged into the small holes in the skylight, and the curved parts at the lower end are bound to the crossing part of the woven balls, thus a complete frame in the shape of sky forms. 

When the frame of the felt house is finished, colored wattled walls will be enclosed around the woven walls. The wattled walls are the grass curtains woven by splendid achnatherum in same length, width and size. The grass curtains surrounding the door sides of the felt house are especially particular, every piece of splendid achnatherum is coiled with colored knitting wool, and patterns in symmetry and harmony are woven to make the felt houses look more beautiful. When the wattled walls are bound up, woolen felt will be enclosed outside it, and fixed and connected with ropes. The roof and skylight are covered with felt. The cover of skylight is movable and is tied with ropes that can be drawn to and fro. At ordinary times, it is open; at night or when it rains, blows or snows, the cover is sealed. 

The felt house is about 1.40 meters in height and 0.8 meter in width. The door of the house is generally wood board door with double leaves, carved with all kinds of patterns or mountain, water and flowers. Outside it, a door curtain woven by splendid achnatherum and sandwiched with a layer of colored felt is hung. 

The indoor decorations are still very particular: at the place straightly facing the door of the house, some wood boxes and cabinets filled with valuable articles or clothes are placed leaning the wall, beddings are rolled up tidily on the two sides and coved with colored cloth. The colored felt and cotton-padded mattress in semicircle shape are spread surrounding the stove, for the guests to use. 

This kind of felt house is easy to put up, pull down and move. People feel warm in winter and cool in summer when living in the felt houses, which are solid and durable. They are safe and sound even in the violent wind of 8th to 9th force, and are good places for the herdsmen to keep out wind and rain.