Inside The Yurt Tent

Following on from yesterday’s post with the yurt tent in Xianjiang, China here is a view inside the beautifully decorated home. Life on the Steppes can be hard: the winds blow fiercely, rain and snow in the winter months give way to often oppressive heat in the summer months. Living in such close proximity to so many animals, meanwhile, meant an equally close proximity to the waste products of those animals – that makes for a ripe and generally unpleasant smell as a constant companion. The Mongolian people who continue to live on the Steppes are hardy people indeed but they are aided by a remarkable companion – the yurt.
The yurt, otherwise known as the ger, is a felt tent that is capable of standing up to the rigours of the Steppes. Constructed of felt and wood, it is stable and solid, resistant to precipitation but capable of being opened up at several points to allow for a cooling breeze to pass through when required. The roof ring is perhaps the most important part, since this wooden construction must be well-wrought and have close fitting notches for the rafters to fit into without slipping. The rafters were originally saplings which are planted one end in the ground and the other in the designated notch in the roof ring. A variety of rafters bear the weight of the complete yurt and, should one or two break or falter, then the remaining rafters are sufficient to bear the weight. This makes the yurt very stable and, because there are no central supports or struts, the space inside is maximized. This is important because people, women especially, can spend a great deal of time inside the yurt and need space to organise their domestic activities. The rafters are further supported by a couple of wooden belly bands which curve all the way round the yurt, for additional strength.

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