Chinese Name: 柯尔克孜族
English Name: The Kyrgyz people
Languages: Kyrgyz language 柯尔克孜语, Chinese 汉语
Total population: 1.86*105 (China mainland 2022)
Distribution: Mainly distributed in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
The Kyrgyz people 柯尔克孜族 is one of the ethnic minorities in China, and their national language is Kirgiz, which belongs to the Altaic language family 阿尔泰语系. The Kyrgyz are mainly distributed in Kyrgyzstan and China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region 新疆维吾尔自治区, and a few people are also distributed in Heilongjiang Province 黑龙江省.
The history of the Kyrgyz people
The history of the Kyrgyz people can be traced back to two thousand years ago. According to literature records, the ancestors of the Kyrgyz lived around Khyargas Nuur 吉尔吉斯湖 in the north of what is now the Mongolian People’s Republic 蒙古人民共和国. Because of the war, the Kyrgyz had to keep moving, until now the situation where most of the residents live in various areas of Xinjiang is formed.
The religion of the Kyrgyz people
The Kyrgyz people first believed in shamanism 萨满教, and the Kyrgyz living in Fuyu County 富裕县, Heilongjiang still believe in this religion. The Kyrgyz nationality living in Xinjiang believe in Tibetan Buddhism 藏传佛教. But most Kyrgyz people believe in Islam 伊斯兰教, and there are remnants of primitive beliefs. Most of the Kirgiz people believed in Islam in the 18th century, and Islam completely penetrated into Kyrgyz’s thought, culture, morality, life and other fields, especially in terms of language, literature, education, art, architecture and customs.
The Cultures of the Kyrgyz people
Kyrgyz clothing 柯尔克孜族服饰
Most of the Kyrgyz people wear small hats with a black cloth or black velvet on the lower brim, and in winter they wear fur hats made of fox skin or lamb skin. Men wear a rusty white lace crew-neck shirt, a belt around the waist or an embroidered cloth belt. Wear underpants inside and wide-leg trousers made of blue, black flannel and other fabrics outside. Generally, wear felt boots and felt socks in winter. Old people like to wear leather pants and homemade loafers in winter.
Women often wear long dresses with folds and belts. The outer cover of the skirt is embroidered with various patterns with silk threads, embellished with silver buttons and copper threads, colourful gold velvet waistcoats, and bright leather boots.
Unmarried women wear red gold velvet dome hats, young married women wear red and green headscarves, red, green and purple tops and red skirts, and more decorations. Middle-aged and elderly women wear white headscarves, blue and black tops and coats, with little decoration.
Kyrgyz diets 柯尔克孜族饮食
The diet of the Kyrgyz is dominated by cattle, sheep, horses, camels, yak meat and dairy products, and almost three meals a day are inseparable from meat, milk and dairy products. Wheat, highland barley and vegetables are only supplementary foods in the diet of the Kyrgyz nationality. The Kyrgyz people like to drink, among which Kumiss is the best drink for the Kyrgyz. Kumiss is made from mare’s milk fermented after a few days. This kind of drink is used to entertain guests in summer and autumn.
Kyrgyz architecture 柯尔克孜族建筑
The modern Kyrgyz people has basically achieved a settlement, but still, retains the traditional characteristics of some nomadic peoples. Kyrgyz dwellings in rural and pastoral areas are slightly different. There are many courtyard houses in rural villages with flat roofs with brick and wood structures. The Kyrgyz in pastoral areas likes to build yurts with white felt, which is related to their advocacy for white. Herdsmen of the Kyrgyz change their place of residence according to the climate. For example, in summer, people live near rivers in cooler alpine regions. In winter, they live in valleys with warm climates.
Kyrgyz craftsmanship 柯尔克孜族技艺
The traditional handicraft industry of Kyrgyz people has a long history, including woodware making, metal processing, textile embroidery, etc. All kinds of animals, figures, flowers and trees carved and embroidered are vivid, full of distinctive national characteristics and strong life flavour, reflecting the wisdom and talents of the Kyrgyz people.
The earrings and rings made of gold, silver and red copper inlaid by the Kyrgyz have a unique national style. Tableware and household utensils made of iron and copper, such as teapots, pots, swords, buttons, bells, etc., are exquisite in craftsmanship and durability. Animals and dragons are carved on ornaments and utensils.
The Kyrgyz people are famous for being good at making felt products, and the curtains that almost every family has, are interior decorations with a long history. There are many varieties of grass weaving in the Kyrgyz people. These kinds of weavings are made of local materials, simple in craftsmanship, economical and practical, and are not only an indispensable daily necessity but also unique handicraft.