Chinese yurts vs. Kyrgyz yurts

As is the case with many goods, China produces cheap yurts. In “Beware the cheap Chinese yurt invasion” on salon.com, Andrew Leonard discusses how Chinese synthetic yurts are threatening the financial stability of Kyrgyzstan’s domestic yurt industry.

Pros for Chinese yurts:

  • cheaper
  • easier to assemble (only 20 minutes with 2 people, compared to more than 2-months of work with 15 people!)
  • easier to care for (Kyrgyz yurts requires constant drying and protecting the felt from bugs, among other things)

Pros for Kyrgyz yurts:

  • long-lasting (can last for generations–not sure how long the Chinese yurts will last)
  • are not embarrassing (apparently a true Kyrgyz wouldn’t be caught dead in a Chinese yurt)

The article pulls a lot of its information from an article by David Trilling at Eurasia.net. The author includes some excellent photos about constructing a yurt in Kyrgyzstan, and other fun facts:

  • Kyrgyz funerals traditionally require yurts.
  • To make one yurt you need the wool from 100 sheep.
  • Kyrgyz cemeteries often use yurt-shaped grave markers.

Kyrgyz Musicians in Karakol

photo: Simon Garbutt, 2005, from Wikipedia

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