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Mirket Nuasu makes sledges into artworks in China’s Xinjiang

Shiliuyun - Xinjiang Daily (Reporter Zheng Zhuo) news: Mirket Nuasu went out to his handicrafts workshop before sunrise. A few days ago, a customer ordered a sledge, so he came here to make it out.

At the 7th Burqin Rime Festival, exquisite sledges made by Mirket got the first place at the sledge decoration evaluation display. (Photo offered by the Publicity Department of the Party Committee of Burqin County)

This winter, Mirket from Akqi Village of Chonghur Town in Burqin County, Altay Prefecture, northwest China’s Xinjiang, receives orders every week. “Ice and snow tourism booms this year! Tourists come here to watch horse race on the snow field and spectacular rime landscape by taking horse-drawn sledges,” said Mirket. With the increasing number of tourists, relevant tourism services have become more popular. With his handicrafts, such as whips, saddles and sledges, he expects to earn more than 30,000 yuan this winter.

The village where Mirket lives is close to the Kanas scenic spot. In winter, the stunning scenery of Kanas extends to here, with the famous “100-mile rime landscape” passing through the village.

When Mirket was young, the villagers relied on horse-drawn sleighs to go out in winter. He learned from his father, who was very good at making all kinds of harnesses, and has become a famous craftsman.

In the winter of 2015, his life was changed by the development of tourism.

At that time, many tourists were attracted to the magnificent winter scenery of Burqin County, regarding here as a romantic getaway. Some tourist agencies found villagers and asked them to take tourists to the rime ice forest in the mountain by horse-drawn sleighs, and the villagers agreed. A few hours later, they got paid a few hundred yuan.

Mirket said sledge making here is more of an artistic pursuit. With a lot of folk patterns painted on and guard bars set alongside, sledges are very popular among tourists. They often take photos on sledges even if the tour is over.

Since then, Mirket has started to study making sledges intensely. In the daytime, he worked on the farm, but at night he devoted himself to carving beautiful patterns, painting bright colors, and even matching the color between sledges and horses.

In 2016, Mirket opened a handicraft workshop in the village. Exquisite whips and saddles, and colorful sledges attracted many tourists. Some museums and famous scenic spots found him and expressed their intentions of collecting and exhibiting the sledges he made.

The news of “Mirket’s sledges are collected by museums” have spread like wildfire through the village, and reached tourists’ ears.

Given such an incentive, Mirket became more confident about inheriting sledge-making crafts. The Burjin County Tax Bureau of the State Administration of Taxation visited and helped him apply for a business license. “Mirket’s low literacy doesn’t block his fondness for learning. We have helped him find many novel patterns to provide references for the design of sledge patterns. We have also contacted surrounding towns and townships to help him develop sales channels,” said He Guisheng, team leader of the working team at the village.

Mirket knows he should take advantage of tourism to popularize his sledges.

Therefore, he promotes his sledges at the annual Rime Festival held in Burqin County. Recently, at the 7th Burqin Rime Festival, people attracted to his sledges said, “Who made these sledges? They are so beautiful!” “How ingenious Mirket is! These sledges are both solid and beautiful.” Some people immediately ordered sledges from him. At the Rime Festival, his exquisite sledges not only got the first place at the sledge decoration evaluation display, but also brought him many orders.

“Only tourist market booms, can our business go well.” Mirket believes that the old sledge-making craft will be conspicuous in Xinjiang’s big ice and snow tourism market.

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