The Türkmens traditionally lived in tents made
of white and black felt symbolising wealth and
poverty, and the Kazakhs lived in felt tents
known as kiyiz üy. Felt is variously known throughout
the region as kidhiz, kidiz, kiz, kiiz and kiyiz.
Felt making was widespread among the Seljuk
and Ottoman Turks, and these craftsmen played
an important role in the mystic trade organisations
known as ahi. The uncle of the famous 13th century
mystic Haci Bektas Veli was Keçeci Baba (Father
of the Felt Makers), who lived in the village
of Keçeci in the district of Erbaa in Tokat.
Although felt is mainly made by machine today,
some continues to be made by hand in parts of
Turkey. The fact that the process is labour-intensive,
prices low, and the use of felt artefacts less
widespread than in the past means that this
traditional craft is on the decline. Young people
are no longer interested in learning this technique,
and the few surviving workshops are unlikely
to last another generation.