“Four poplars” tapestry (“Tort baiterek" - the Kazakh name)

In this work the co-authors set themselves a goal to create a tapestry, that reveals the essence of the Kazakh goodwill - "Let all your four sides be filled to the brim!" (in Kazakh it sounds like "Tort kubyla tүgel bolsyn!"). This is a well-known "bata" - a form of a verbal good wish in the Kazakh traditional culture, which is a wish for the well-being of the man, his family, the hearth, expressed in a concise verbal form. The philosophical and semantic content of this wish is based on the fact that in the culture of Kazakh people, as well as with many other peoples of the world, a person is considered a harmonious and whole individual, if he/she develops the four main vital aspects of life: spiritual, physical (i.e. health and strength in procreation), material and creative. The same four criteria of harmonious perfection are identified with the image of family and hearth, since the existence of a man as a social unit is unthinkable without these concepts.
Therefore, these four aspects - spiritual, physical, material and creative - are the basis on which the figurative and semantic subtext of the entire composition of the “Four Poplars” tapestry is standing.
Four silhouettes of this sacred Kazakh tree occupy the entire space of the background of the composition. They are presented by the artist in a stylized manner, full-length from the base to the top, and are rendered in a graphic and linear manner. Wishing to express the artistic idea by minimal means, the authors build the composition by means of intersecting lines and forms of elementary geometric figures - a square, a hemisphere and four ellipsoids.

The main artistic image of the tapestry is represented by a diamond-shaped square located in the very heart of the composition. Its four corners are oriented along the central axes of the upper, lower, right and left sides of the work and the square itself consists of suprematic elements of different scales and colors, reminiscent of the traditional Kazakh "kurak" (quilt), which is in many ways the "signature style" of Malik Mukanov's tapestries. Above the central diamond, as if outlining the dome of the sky, a black silhouette line of the Kazakh yurt runs. On the yurt’s top - the shanyrak - almost at the level of the poplars' tops, nestles a stylized figure of Kumai, the blessed bird, bringing joy and luck to the hearth. A small black figure of a walking bull, on the back of which the lower corner of the diamond rests, visually balances the entire composition. Without his presence, the pictorial image of the diamond as the personification of the family hearth would have become ephemeral, hanging in the space without a foothold, which would fundamentally contradict the general artistic and semantic outline of the work. Small figures of people - a shepherd on a horse wandering on the steppe with a flock of sheep, a man and a woman traveling on a horse, located to the right and left of the central rhombus, saturate the pictorial structure of the tapestry with precisely found details. Only the central part of the work is filled with bright contrasting color combinations. The rest of the space is solved in a soft color of muted white-cream and olive combinations, subordinate to the black which is the chief color of the composition.
The pictorial structure of tapestry was visually enriched by the author's technology of "flexible Chee grass", it was developed and used by Mukanov M. in his works. In the tapestry, the straws of "flexible Chee grass" are sewn in with a continuous 4-centimeter strip along the edge of the entire perimeter of the central rhombus. The straws are harmoniously fit into the central pictorial symbol with their complex supremacist structure, since the central symbol is also consisting of "quilt-shaped" patchwork segments. The "flexible Chee grass" in this composition not only supports the idea that a person is perfect when his four main aspects of being are "filled to the brim", but also symbolizes the whole range of personal qualities, emotions and skills that accompany the individual who is living his full life.

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