Lovely little felt characters, hand-made in the traditional way by women in Kyrgyzstan. We first came across these felt dolls in The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul in the shop of a Kazak friend of ours. We bought 12, sold them immediately and asked him to send us more. When we realised that we would be going through Kyrgyzstan on our "Great Cross Asia Textile Journey" we decided to find the workshop where they came from.
It took a long time to track them down to a small workshop in the capital, Bishkek. It had originally been set up with the help of a UNESCO grant to give work to women with traditional felt making skills. Now it stands alone as a great little business and we continue to sell their lovely individually made felt ladies (and the occasional man!)
For lots more on the story of these dolls and feltmaking in Kyrgyzstan, read my blog "Felt Dollies From Bishkek"
We have been collecting shadow puppets (called "wayang kulit" since we first fell in love with traditional Javanese shadow theatre on our first trip to Java in 1983. They are becoming more expensive and its now harder to find decent second hand ones, so here are a few of our favourites. These puppets are all full sized, authentic and made for puppeteers - not tourists. They have been well loved and well used and are in various states of repair. Many battles have been fought and tales told with these wonderful works of art!
Sign up to our newsletter