Friday, December 23, 2016

Yurts

Things I did and didn't want to know about them.

One was the Inner Asian nomad's universal type of dwelling, a tent which in English is called yurt (from Russian yurta, a borrowing from Turkic, where, however; this term means home territory; specific variants ants of oy, usually accompanied by color epithets such as aq = white or boz = grey, are the Turkic terms; significantly, in Turkish - the Turkic of Turkey - where the bulk of the population has long led a settled life, the word, in the form of ev, has acquired the connotation of house; the Mongol word for our "yurt" is ger). The yurt radically differs from other nomads' tents - Arab, Berber, those of Iran, the tepee of the American Indian - both in shape and construction material; the shape is that of a round structure covered by a hemispherical or conical roof, with a smoke hole at the top, which can be closed with a flap; the material consists of a wooden trellis frame covered with a layer of felt, ideal insulation against both winter cold and summer heat. The yurt could he larger or smaller, but a standard size of some 6 meters in diameter was predominant.

Svat Soucek. A History of Inner Asia (Kindle Locations 693-699). Kindle Edition.

The author is ostensibly explaining the role of the Yurt in nomadic mobility. A few details I might have liked include its weight and how it is transported. It's etymology, maybe. It's name in Turkic languages, not so much. Unfortunately the author feels compelled to go on about such details even when they have no relation to the primary narrative.

Wikipedia is far more informative and coherent. It also has pictures, and a more precise version of the derivation of the word.