Kyrgyzstan: Splendid Central Asian Culture
The Kyrgyz Republic is located in the hinterlands of Central Asia. It has many mountains, lakes and grasslands. Its Issyk Kul Lake, the world's second largest alpine lake, lies on the top one of the central Tianshan Mountains and is called “a mirror in midair” by the local people. The area that is modern- day Kyrgyzstan was a major stopover on the ancient Silk Road and was once conquered by Genghis Khan (1162– 1227). The Chinese people have had a long history of visiting Kyrgyzstan. The monk Xuanzang (AD 602–664) passed by on his way to ancient India. On January 5, 1992, China and Kyrgyzstan established diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level. Since then, the two countries have carried on continuous exchanges.
In the booth of the third “Colourful World” event, a staff member of the Kyrgyz Embassy in Beijing showed the visitors a handicraft with traditional ethnic characteristics: “This is a sheepskin painting, the most famous featured product of Kyrgyzstan. It has a long history.” Sheepskin painting is one of the most representative works of craftsmanship in Kyrgyzstan. It is made through the various steps of sheepskin tanning, composition, colouring, layer dyeing, shaping and embossing. It typically shows the scenery of the grasslands or the life of the herdsmen. The sample displayed by the staff member featured a special painting of a girl. The decorative tassels straightened the thin sheepskin, making rosy cheeks vivid and appealing.
On the walls of the booth were several traditional round wooden paintings. Artists apply colours directly to the wooden plates, creating characteristic Kyrgyz figures and styles. Visitors can experience a sense of Kyrgyzstan folk life when appreciating these plates.
Also on display were two novels by Kyrgyzstan writer Chinghiz Aitmatov (1928–2008), The White Ship, and The Day Lasts More than a Hundred Years. The author and his books are popular with people in Kyrgyzstan. He has also won several awards in the Soviet Union including the Lenin Prize and his works have been made into films, operas and ballets..
The White Ship is the story of an orphan in the forest. The boy is about to enter elementary school. He has grown up listening to his grandfather's tales of the Horned Mother Deer, and likes to climb to the top of the nearby mountain to gaze at the white ship in a remote lake. He has three dreams, the first of which is to go to school. The story starts with his grandfather buying him a schoolbag to realise this dream, but the journey ends tragically. His second dream is linked with the Mother Deer, who saved the Kyrgyz people but had to leave their homeland. He dreams about the return of Mother Deer and living happily with her. The third is a dream that has not been spoken of. He dreams about the white ship on Issyk- Kul Lake where he believes his father is. He wishes to become a fish so that he can join his father. Atimatov's novel The Day Lasts More than a Hundred Years is longer and more complex with the story taking place in three different dimensions of reality, myth and fiction. These books help readers understand the country of Kyrgyzstan.
The Colourful World event is not only a window to witness the breathtaking scenery in different countries, but also an opportunity to deepen understanding and facilitate exchange between China and Kyrgyzstan.