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Bayn-Zhurek Turkic Time.
Tours on time Ancient Turkic in Southern Kazakhstan.
As on many other monuments of rock art Semirechie, in Bayan-Zhurek was revealed group of petroglyphs of Ancient Turkic time, and also small group of medieval engravings, time of appearance of which is difficult to define.
Dating of this group of pictures is difficult because of small quantity of pictures, different level of patina of petroglyphs and absence of clear features, by which it is possible to connect these pictures with some epoch.
Problems of chronology of Ancient Turkic time's petroglyphs are rather completely worked out by specialists. With appearance of new publications it is possible to define the repeated samples and subjects in art of medieval nomads on wide space of territory.
They are figures of horse warriors - banner carriers, scenes of battles with use of spears, subjects with battles of two spear carriers, pictures of wolves, scenes of hunting, pictures of catafractaries in battles.
With appearance of Ancient Turkic art was improved techniques of putting pictures, was developed techniques of graffiti. Thin carving on stone let to distinguish many details of armament, horse dressing, what promotes to date Turkic petroglyphs?
So, for example, in pictures, made in graffiti techniques are seen such details in horse decoration, like hair dressing of mane in a form of three-five combs, saddles, stirrups, form of compound bow, form of shields and quiver banners; sometimes arrow edges in armament of warriors. Some subjects from Siberia and Mongolia are repeated in petroglyphs of Kazakhstan up to small details, what shows, which in the art of medieval nomads had been reflected stable samples, well known for population on a big territory.
So, for example, the scene from Кhar-Salaa in Mongolia is analogous to the some scene from Bayan-Zhurek in Semirechie. This is battle of two horse warriors. Riders had armament in a form of long lances.
On Mongol scene are pictured two horses and one foot warrior. In scene of battle from Вауаn-Zhurek also are carved figures of two riders and two foot warriors with lances in their hands. On heads of warriors in the both scenes are seen high head dresses - decorations with plumes. Masters created expressive and dynamic pictures of battles, following of enemy and scenes of hunting.
Scenes of battles of foot archers are also expressive. Masters of carving created images of not mounted and horse warriors by two-three lines, like sketch of battle scene. Such are pictures from Eshki-Olmes in Semirechie and from Khar-Salaa. In that years, when archaeologist only started to study petroglyphs was formed opinion, that all medieval pictured are schematic.
With discovery in Semirechie petroglyphs in the canyon Oi-Djailau and Eshki-Olmes, it had become obvious, that art of Turks is not only expressive, but it carries important information on armament, on battles, on clothes of nomads. In Bayan-Zhurek there are some more interesting subjects, except above mentioned, which let to add imagination on the Turkic art.
Belonging to the Ancient Turkic petroglyphs is established by hair dress of mane. Such method of decoration of military horse appeared already in Early Sasanidian Iran and then it was spread in Siberia and in Kazakhstan. Mane can be marked by there jags, rarely by four or five ones. Pictures of horse warriors are the spread subject in the medieval art of as nomadic and agricultural people.
Big quantity of pictures of horse banner carriers and warriors with spears was introduced from the art of petroglyphs to the monumental art of the medieval town culture of Central Asia. On Penjikent fresco we see the same subjects as on petroglyphs of Semirechie. From the VI c up to IX c was formed cultural Turkic-Sogdian complex. On and the same images were reflected as on fresco of Penjikent and in rock art.
First of all, they are pictures of fights of warriors with spears, figures of horse banner carriers. As some researchers note, form of banners is like wolf's head and they are met as on petroglyphs of Semirechie, and on fresco from Penjikent. There is small amount of similar scenes in Bayan-Zhure, but other details, like form of clothes horse decorations, hair dress of mane, presence of neck tassel are the same, which were spread in Middle Ages.
Picture of warrior in armament, with weapon banner is one of the main subjects in Turkic petroglyphs Majority of known samples and subjects in pictures of the Bronze Epoch disappeared in the Middle Ages or was reinterpreted. This is connected with disappearance of many mythological imaginations of the Bronze Epoch. Medieval rock art is connected more with heroic epos.
It is known, that epos usually takes the birth among people during critical moments of people's history. “Epos is remembrance on the past times”, - writes G.D.Gachev. He considers that appearance of epos is connected with formation of statehood. The main theme is heroic of the past. In images of warriors and banner carriers, shown on rocks, it is not difficult to see heroes, glorified in epos.
Turkic warriors in rock art moved away mythological personages of past epochs. But epos and rock art are different kinds of art. In epos are described consequently and slowly fortunes of people and heroes; petroglyphs “illustrate”, remind and fix in memory the important events.
Medieval subjects in rock art are not limited by picturing of warriors - banner carriers. They are various, as larger is sanctuary, as many masters worked over creation of petroglyphs. There are imaginations yet on Turkic art as about primitive art, but with every year archaeologists and lovers of antiquities open new monuments and it is become obvious, that Ancient Turks during khanates had their specific art.
Petroglyphs of the Ancient Turkic time are found far not in all monuments of roc art. There is small quantity of them and they are partially defined in the south of Kazakhstan, but bright samples of this art are available in Semirechie: in Eshki-Olmes, Oi-Djailau, in Chu-Ili Mountains, in the east Kazakhstan, in places of living of Turkic tribes and on the territory of forming of Turkic states. Mountains Bayan-Zhurek is one of those places, where ancient Turkic petroglyphs remained.
Except battle subjects there are some scenes of hunting and following animals by predators, pictures with not mounted archers, shooting from big compound bows. Here are found also petroglyphs, made by thin carving, as in Eshki-Olmes, but the most exciting is that Turkic masters renovated the biggest part of petroglyphs of the Bronze epoch and so they became co-authors of that art. Ancient art was example for imitation. Here is comparatively small quantity of destroyed picture, during restoration.
Details in ancient cult subjects of the Bronze Epoch are destroyed more often, as they were not clear already for people of the Middle Ages. Ancient sacral places were worshipped on prolongation of thousands of years: despite of fact, that cults of sun and fertility last their meaning partially, many others believes, connected with religious imaginations, existed. It is known, that among Turks of Siberia and Altai was spread cult of sacrificial mountains.
Exactly with cult of monuments is connected art of Semirechie Turks. As tribes of the Bronze Epoch, they put the most important pictures on that tops of hills, that of the epoch of Bronze. It's necessary to recognize, that by their expressiveness not all pictures are high artistic samples.
So, definition of style of the medieval pictures, as “Turkic animal style” is not exact. Firstly, the name “animal style” to spread on art of Turks of Bayan-Zhurek is not logical, as on petroglyphs are pictured mostly horse warriors and scenes of hunting. Here we see images of hero ancestors and sacrifice of hunters, as in animal style the main motif was fight of animals.
Moreover, scenes with spear carriers are static enough, what is not characteristic for animal style. But survivals of animal style as heritage of past epochs are presented completely enough in the other monuments of Middle Ages, including in petroglyphs of Eshki-Olmes.
Finishing review of the medieval petroglyphs we note, that interesting monuments of art of Bayan-Zhurek are one more page in study of rock art of Kazakhstan. Rock pictures of the epoch of Early Iron Age and Middle Ages are easy comparatively for dating by details of armament and style.
More difficult is to define time of appearance of many pictures of the Bronze epoch and especially difficult is to separate the whole layer of pictures of the Late Bronze. And also it's difficult to separate the whole layer of pictures of the Late and Final Bronze.
It is promoted partially by the materials of excavations of settlements and burial grounds of the Bronze epoch in foothills of the ridge Bayan-Zhurek, as these materials give imagination on the time of settlement of this region.
Lower we give evidences on excavations of settlements of the Bronze Epoch in the valley Kaskarau.
The book “Baya-Zhurek petroglyphs” K.M.Baipakov, A.N. Maryayshev. “Credos”, Almaty, 2008.