Susan Messer writes about The Magic Mountain:
One of the unforgettable details of the
novel was the obsession of Hans Castorp (the main character) with the
elusive Clavdia Chauchat, who Mann describes repeatedly as having Kyrgyz
eyes. This is, indeed, one of her defining features. "Kyrgyz eyes" were
also a feature of an earlier breathless obsession in Castorp's life–a
young boy who had many years before loaned young Hans a pencil on the
school playground. So Mann echoes these eyes and these obsessions (even the pencil) throughout the novel.
I also wondered exactly what Mann meant by Kyrgyz eyes (Kirgisenaugen). Messer provides us with this photo of actual Kyrgyznauts, or whatever one calls people from Kyrghyzstan:
Cute and wholesome. But I prefer this version, courtesy of St. Petersburg-based photographer Daniil Kontorovich aka Tertius Alio:
If you ask me, she's got Kyrghyz-everything.