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22 Ekim 2019 Salı

Slovakya'da Avar Türkleri




Slovakya'da 2018 yılında "Yılın Keşfi-2017" ödülü Bratislava yakınlarındaki 
AVAR MEZARLIĞI'na verilmişti.

D4R7 otoban çalışmasında keşfedilen 7.yy - 8.yy arasına tarihlendirilen 485 Avar mezarında 
yapılan 5 aylık çalışma ile 6000 den fazla eser çıkarıldı.

1927-1933 yıllarında da 800 adet Avar kurganı Devinska Nova Ves'te açığa çıkarılmıştı.

“Discovery of the Year 2017” category was granted to the Avar burial ground in Podunajské Biskupice near Bratislava. For a period of five months, the archaeologists examined 485 graves from 7th-8th century, where containers, working tools, jewels or animal bones were found. More than 6,000 grave artifacts were documented in total, making this discovery worthy of the attribute of the biggest discovery of the last decades.

The first great 800 Avar graves was found in Devinska Nova Ves, between 1927-1933.
* Avar Turks




'Avrupalılaşan' Avar Türkleri


Şarlman 791'de Avarlara saldırır. Avarlar ağır kayıplar verir.
- 792-795 arasında Avarlar arasında kardeş kavgası başlar. Kağan ile Yuğruş* kendi adamları (kıtlığa sebep oldukları için) tarafından öldürülür. Tudun** Kağan ve Yuğruş'tan ayrılır ve Friuli'nin Frank Dükü Erik** ile müttefik olur
ve onlara karşı savaşır.
- 795'de Avarların gücü tükenir, Franklar Kağan'ın otağını yerle bir eder. Tarihçi Nestor tüm Avarların öldüğünü yazar. Hayatta kalanlar ise Tisa (Tisza) nehrinin doğusuna çekilmiştir.
- Tudun Şarlman'a gider ve Hıristiyanlığa geçmeye hazır olduğunu bildirir.






SB

* Yuğruş; Tr., Kağan'dan sonra gelen kişi, vezirlik görevi yapana verilen unvan, ama ad (Yugrush) olarak kayıtlara geçmiş.
** Tudun; Tr., unvan, vali.
*** Erik Margrave of Friuli.


Frankların (Fransızların) sembolü olan 'Fleur de Lys', 
yani Zambak motifi Türklere aittir.
Avar Kemer Tokası - 7.yy /metmüzesi
Hatta Pazırık kurganlarından çıkarılan eşyalarda bile görülür. 
Bunun anlamı: 'Fransızlar 1000 yıl sonra kullanmaya başladı' demektir.
Fleur de lys was never Frank origin, Franks borrowed from Avar Turks. Before the Franks used as a symbol, was already in use among the Turkish tribes, also to be seen in Pazyryk kurgans, which is 1000 years before the Frank nations!
Belt, 7th century Avar / in metmuseum
Metropolitan museum don't mentioned that the Avars are Turkish tribe.  I condemn them!!!

Avar


Kelt Düğümü dedikleri 'düğüm' Türk düğümüdür.
Keltler İskit/Saka, Hun, Avar Türklerinden 'ödünçlenmişlerdir'


The Celtic Knot is the Turkish knot.
Celts 'borrowed' from Scythian / Saka, Hun and Avar Turks


Kalem Kutusu - Selçuklu 1210
İran veya Afganistan'dan

Pen Box with Turkish Knot, Seljuk Turks 1210
from İran or Afghanistan, does not make this art piece a "Persian Art", 
and definitely does not make it "Islamic art" too !..



Alan Türkleri






ALAN TÜRKLERİ

- Alan Türkleri MS 1.yy'dan MS 4.yy'a kadar Kuzey Kafkaslar'da hüküm süren kabileler federasyonudur. Alan terimine antik dönem yazılarında ilk defa 1.yy'da rastlanır. MS 72-135 yıllarında Kafkasya Albanya'sında (Azerbaycan), İberya (Kafkas), Ermenistan, Mediya ve Küçük Asya (Türkiye)'ya yaptıkları tahrip edici akınları dönemin yazarları tarafından kaydedilmiştir.

- Bir kısmı 375'de Hunlarla birlikte batıya geçerken, bir kısmı da merkez ve batı Kafkasya'nın dağlık bölgelerine çekilir.

- Hunlarla Avrupa'ya gelenlerin bir kısmı Fransa, İspanya ve Cebelitarık Boğazı'ndan Fas, Cezayir ve Tunus'a gelirler.

- Katalonya adını Alanlar'dan alır.

- Ayrıca Roma ve Pers ordularında da hizmet etmişlerdir. Mısır piskoposu Synesius (MS 4.yy) " Bize göre yabancı bir tarzda eğitilmiş, kendi geleneklerine göre yaşayan, bize karşı düşmanca planlar tasarlayan genç savaşçı müfrezelerinden korkmamak mümkün değil. Bu beyaz tenli, saçları birbirine karışmış barbarların bir kısmının hizmetli olarak görev yapması, bir kısmının ise lider kadrosu olarak siyasi hayatta yer alması şaşırtıcıdır" der.

- Alanlar ve Asların Türk oldukları ve Türk dilli olduklarını mevcut veriler ortaya koymaktadır.

özetle:
Kazi T.Laypanov - İsmail M.Miziyev
Türk Halkların Kökeni
Selenge Yayınları

* Görsel: Alan komutanına ait bir anıt mezar. 11.yy
Alanlar Kafkaslardan Portekiz'e adı 'Alaunt' olan bir köpek türü götürmüştü. Bu köpek Alenquer kentinin, ki adını Alanlardan alır, sembolüdür. Alanların torunları Karaçay-Balkar Türkleri de tazı türü ile ünlüydü, görseldeki köpek de tazı olmalı. 
* Bazı 'Hint-Avrupa dil' yazarları Alan ve Asların Türk olmadığını öne sürer, bunu da İskit/Sakaların 'Hint-Avrupalı' 'İrani' olmasına bağlar. Ne acıdır ki  tamamiyle çökmüş olan 'Hint-Avrupa' ya da 'Aryan' terimini hala kullanmaktadırlar. Bu gibi 'yazar', 'tarihçi' ya da 'akademisyen'in kimin cebinde yaşadığını araştırmak gerek! Olcas Süleymanov buna güzel bir cevap vermektedir.


Olcas Süleymanov "Aziya" (s.202--211)

Süleymanov: 
"Hint-Avrupa dil ailesine dahil edilmiş olan birçok dilin yapısı ve şekli tarihi olarak çok kısa süre içerisinde kökünden değişmiştir. Halbuki Türk dilinde aynı zaman içerisinde hiç bir değişiklik olmamıştır.

Süleymanov:
" 20.yüzyılda sahte bir ailede toplanmış Avrupa dillerinin birbirinden kesin olarak ayrıldığını gören alimler kelimelerin zamanla değişerek yok olacağı hakkındaki teoriyi bütün dil grupları için geçerli saydılar, bir grup kelime bütün dillerde aynıydı. Bunu kök Hint-Avrupa dilinin kalıntısı olarak ilan ederek, değişmeye nisbeten daha az maruz kalan esas dil tabakası hakkında sonuç çıkardılar. Uygun düşmeyen kelimeler ise dilin bünyesinde kesinlik ölüme mahkum olan kelimeleri sırasına konuldu. Pekiyi Hint-Avrupa dillerinde ortak olan, yani akrabalığı ispatlayan yapılar nelerdir?

1. Üçten beşe kadar (beşli sistem mevcut olduğunda) veya dokuza kadar (onlu sistem uygulandığı devirlerde) olan sayılar 'bir' sayısı nisbeten az dayanıklıdır, çünkü Hint-Avrupa dillerinde bir sayısının adları çeşitlidir.
2. 1. ve 2. şahıs zamirleri. Niçin sadece 1. ve 2. şahıs zamirleri? Çünkü Hint-Avrupa dillerinde 3.şahıs zamirleri birbirine uygun gelmiyor.
3. Bazı akrabalık terimleri.
4. Bazı beden uzuvlarının adları (Hint-Avrupa dillerinde sadece 'ayak'ın adı umumidir).

Çıkan sonuç şu: Görünüşte birbirine benzemeyen dillerin mukayesesi yapıldığında bu leksik grupların yakınlığını ortaya koymak, bu dillerin genetik akrabalığını ispatlamak için yeterlidir. Hint-Avrupa dil ailesi için ilk devirlerde böyle basit bir şema ortaya çıkarıldı; bu öyle bir devirdi ki Sanskritçe ve Yunanca sayı isimleri, şahıs zamirleri ve terimlerin akrabalığı Avrupalı alimlerin gözlerini kamaştırarak akıllarını başlarından almıştı. O zamanlar sadece bir seçenek vardı: Ya genetik akrabalık ya da hiç! Oysa canlı dil tarihinde akrabalığın bir çok çeşidi vardı. Ne var ki dilciler bunları ne gördüler ne de anlattılar. Çünkü bu durumda Hint-Avrupa dil ailesi birkaç gruba bölünürdü. 

Şu şekilde bir soru akla gelebilir: Belki sayı isimleri, şahıs zamirleri ve akrabalık terimleri hiç de Eski Hint-Avrupa dillerinin kalıntısı değildir; herhangi bir dilin, diyelim Farsça'nın en geniş olarak yayıldığı bir devirde (diyelim ki MÖ 1.binde Ahamenişler zamanında Fars hakimiyetinin batıda Yunanistan ve Mısır'a, doğuda Hindistan ve Çin'e kadar yayıldığı bir devirde) yayılıp benimsenmiştir.

Bu soru Hint-Avrupa dilcilerin de daha önce akıllarına geldiği için bir hüküm yürüttüler: Esas lugat terkibinin kelimeleri dışında alınmaz; bütün dillerde akraba olan sayılari bir çift şahıs zamiri ve terimler bu dillerle birlikte doğmuşlardır, sadece o dile mensupturlar. Bunlar başka hiç bir dile verilmez ve hiçbir dilden de alınmazlar. Eğer bu hükmün sahipleri zahmet edip hiç olmazsa Türkçe ve Hint-Avrupa dillerini karşılatırsalardı, bu hüküm kolayca çürütülürdü. Bu karşılaştırma, dilcilerin bu katı kuralından haberi olmayan dili oluşturan halkların kelimeleri her zaman birbirlerine verip aldıklarını gösterirdi.

Bu durum gramer için de böyledir. Mesela Türk dilinde birinci onluktaki sayılar Hint-Avrupa dillerinin sayı adlarına uygun gelir. Hint-Avrupa dillerindeki bazı birleşik sayılar Türkçeden alınmıştır. Latince çekim sistemi sadece Türkçe çekim sistemi ile izah olunabilir. Hint-Avrupa dillerinin akrabalığına esas delil olarak gösterilen 1.şahıs zamirinin yalın ve diğer hallerindeki değişik çekimleri Türk ve Fin-Ogur dilleri ile karşılaştırılarak açığa çıkarılabilir (ben-menya, mne ve men- meni, menge).

Türk materyalini dikkate almadan, bu cümleden olarak 'ter' -Türk çokluk sayı sisteminin menşeini araştırmadan (bu şekil söze saygı, ihtiram manası veren ek olarak kullanılırdı) mother, father, sister, brother gibi akrabalık terimlerinin menşei hakkında kesin fikir söylemek mümkün değildir.

'Hint-Avrupa dilleri' tezi hiç tartışılmadan teori haline getirilmiştir. Bu teori Johns'un ilk iddiası olarak doğmuş ve sonraki yüzyılda hiç bir zaman kendi kılıfından çıkamamıştır. Bu teorinin gelişip değişmemesi onun yeterinde olgun bir teori olmadığını isbat eder. 'Hint-Avrupa dilleri' terimi dilcilik kitaplarında nazari olarak değil de, muhteva bakımından enine büyümektedir."

Süleymanov N.Marr'dan aktarıyor: 
"Hint-Avrupa dilcileri kendi sahalarında çok derine indiler, şimdi bu yoldan dönmek isteseler bile şimdiye kadarki iddialarını yerle bir etmeden bunu başaramazlar. Kendi dil sistemlerinin derinliğine nüfuz etmeyi başaramamış olan Türkologlar ise bu sistemin karşısında sfenks önünde durur gibi dikilip kalmışlardır."

Süleymanov: 

"Çılgın Marr'ın söylediklerinden yıllar sonra da durum değişmemiştir. Eğer Türk diline gerekli dikkat gösterilseydi, o zaman dilcilik ve tarihin bir çok gerçek dışı efsanesi yerini hakikate bırakırdı. Belki de o zaman beşeri bilimler müsbet bilimlere yaklamış olurdu. Ne var ki, Hint-Avrupacılar Türk şivelerini, Hint-Avrupa imparatorluğunun ücrada duran şiveleri olarak kabul ettikçe, Türkologlar da dayı yardımı almadan şalvarlarını bellerine tutmayı beceremedikçe ve muhterem üstatların tahkir edici 'hakikatlerini' papağan gibi tekrarladıkça, biz kendi evimizde gözü bağlı dolaşmaya ve başımızı oraya buraya çarpmaya devam edeceğiz."


 SB




PROBLEMS of the HISTORY and LANGUAGE
Collection of articles on problems of lingohistory, revival and development of the Tatar nation
Kazan, 1995
Önceki paylaşım: Alanlar


21 Ekim 2019 Pazartesi

TULGA - TOLGA - TVLGA




TULGA (TVLGA): 
Adı Türkçe olan Hispania'nın Vizigot (Batı Gotlar) Kralı (639-642). 
Kral Çintila'nın oğlu ve halefi. - 18.yy gravürü

TULGA (TVLGA - 6th c).
Visigothic (West) King of Hispania (639-642). Son and successor Chintila. - 18th century engraving.
* Tulga - Tolga = Tr. of ety., meaning helmet. Still in use among Turks as male and surname.




Gotların tarihi de bir muammadır. Aslen Got olan Romalı Jordanes Gotların tarihini yazarken büyük bir baskı altındadır. Hunlarla savaş halinde olan Romalılar, kayıt altına alınan her şeye sansür uygulumaktadır. İşte bu zamanda kitabını yazan Jordanes de sansürden geçmesi için elinden geleni yaparken birçok bilgiyi satır altına gizlemiştir. Gotların Hunlarla akraba olduğunu ve hatta bazı Gotların Hun isimleri aldığını söyler.

Gotların İskit (Getae*) olduğunu yazan Herodot'tan (MÖ 5.yy) Tacitus (MS 1.yy) ve Yaşlı Pliny'e (MS 1.yy) gelinceye dek Gotlar artık İskit olmaktan çıkmış ve Germanik boyu olarak anılmaya başlanmıştır. Ama yaşam tarzları, gelenek ve kültürleri, hatta dilleri bile Türkçe kelimeler barındırır.

Kapadokyalı olan Ulfila (Wulfila, MS 4.yy) kaçırılmış ve Tuna Nehri civarında, 'Çar/Oğuz İskitleri'nin ülkesinde yaşamıştır. Ulfilas Yunancadan Got diline çevirdiği İncili'nde Tanrı için 'Baba'nın karşılığı olan 'Atta' kelimesini kullanmıştır. Sağır sultanın bile bildiği bir şey varsa o da Ata sözünün öz Türkçe olmasıdır.

'Atta unsar thu in himinam'
'Cennetteki/Gökteki Babamız'


Semra Bayraktar


* Getae kelimesi diğer İskit/Saka boylarından olan Tissagetler ya da Tomris Ece'nin kabilesi Massagetler (Massagetae) dediğimizdeki gibidir 'Getae' (Get).
* Tissagetler (Thyssagetae) aynı zamanda Tyrasgetae olarak da okunur. Tyras > Tiras/Turas için Prof.Ç.Garaşarlı İskandinav kaynaklarında Traklar ve Türkler için kullanıldığını yazar. Hazar kaynaklarında da Tir-s ya da Turis olarak geçmektedir. Dinyester (Turla) nehrinin de eski adıdır. Tissagetler Başkırt/Başkurtların da atalarındandır.
* Türk:Ata (Ada) - Sumer: Ada (Olcas Süleymanov, Aziya, s.221)
* "History of the Goths (Gotların Tarihi) adlı çalışma Gotların tarih sahnesine çıkışından Ostrogot ve Vizigot Krallıklarının sonuna kadar olan dönemi siyasi, askeri ve içtimai tarihi için önemli bir eserdir." - Mert Kozan (Herwig Wolfram, History of the Goths, İng.Tercüme Thomas J.Dunlop)




Über die name TULGA:

Sie sagen (link) ;"Noch keine Infos zur Bedeutung verfügbar... und mongolisch". Sie wissen es nicht, aber wir wissen es. "Mongolish!" dass ist ja Absurdität und unmöglich, weil Tulga ist Turkish, die Hunnen haben diese name auch. Tulga bedeuted Helm auf Turkish. Wenn Sie nicht in die türkische Sprache schauen, können Sie nie die Bedeutung finden. türkisch zu ignorieren, das ist dein problem! Ein anderer hier (link): "Die Bedeutung dieses Namens ist unbekannt", natürlich berücksichtigen Sie nicht die türkische Sprache! Westgoten verwendeten Hunnen-Türken namen.


About the name Tulga:

They say (link), "No information on the meaning available yet ... and Mongolian". You do not know, but we know it. "Mongolish!" that is absurdity and impossible, because Tulga is Turkish, the Huns have that name too. Tulga means helm in Turkish. If you do not look into the Turkish language, you can never find the meaning. ignoring turkish, that's your problem! An other one here (link):  "Meaning of this name is unknown", ofcourse, you are not considering the Turkish language! Visigoths used Hun-Turkish names.

SB









19 Ekim 2019 Cumartesi

The Petroglyphs of Kalbaktash I



The complex referred to as Kalbak-Tash I is located on the right bank of the Chuya river approximately 12 km. above the point where the Chuya joins the Katun. The ridge from which Kalbak-Tash takes its name...

Within a landscape of impressive landforms, the ridge is relatively small, measuring approximately 0,5 km. from north to south and with a width varying from 150–300 m. To the west of Kalbak-Tash loess terraces, rise above the river, giving this region its appearance of an almost planned and constructed series of pastures between the rocky mountain slopes on the north and the forested slopes on the south. Kalbak-Tash takes the form of a sinuous ridge falling from the mountains bordering the Chuya river valley on the north, cutting the valley from north to south, and ending proximately 40 to 60 m. above the river. Immediately beyond the ridge to the east, the river valley is more constricted, even gorge-like in certain stretches. Beneath the southern edge of Kalbak-Tash and along the right bank of the Chuya River runs the Chuya Road, connecting the northern Altai Republic and Mongolia through the border crossing at Tashanta.The particular appearance and character of the ridge, Kalbak-Tash, and of the immediate area are the results of ancient tectonic and climatic forces.

Fracture patterns create the particular physiographic characteristic of this prominent rise. A combination of three fracture sets formed the ridge: the fractures parallel to the bedding trend 335 degrees; the jointing fractures are subhorizontal; and the fractures of the Klivazh formation reveal an 80 degree trend. These three surface types, with stepped ledges and benches, extend down to the bank of the Chuya river. Cataclysmic forces have also shaped this region: in the Pleistocene, this stretch of the Chuya Basin formed an ice-free island within the vast glaciations descending from the mountainous ridges to the south, southwest, southeast, and northeast. Sudden and massive flooding in the late Pleistocene out of ice-dammed lakes in the Kuray and Chuya basins, significantly shaped the lower Chuya river valley, including the section with Kalbak-Tash, cutting and scouring the gorges characteristic of this area and depositing giant bars further down river and at the junction of the Chuya and Katun.

The particular aspect of the ridge within the valley setting and the parceled character of its surfaces have certainly contributed to the gradual transformation of Kalbak-Tash into a treasury of ancient images. There are, of course, other possible ways of explaining the emergence of this ridge as a site of petroglyphic concentration. Functioning as a natural break in the valley that is, within the only passage in this part of the Altai from the valley of the Katun down to the great Kurai and Chuya steppes – its location certainly en-dowed it with a distinctive visible presence. The ridge would have offered shepherds an advantageous perch from which to watch their flocks or hunters a point from which to survey the movements of wild animals. Time spent waiting, watching, and hoping for success at the hunt might have encouraged the repetition of some of the most archaic images at Kalbak-Tash, as well as at other Central Asian sites. One may imagine that the scores of large deer representations which certainly date at least as early as the beginning of the second millennium B.C. reflect a particular event in the annual cycle of life. Facing as they usually do to the right and hence either to the eastern extension of the valley or to the Chuya below, these images may reflect regular migrations of deer from one side of the river to the other and from the grassy, south facing slopes on the right bank of the Chuya to the deep forests on the left. Perhaps, also, the sinuous shape of Kalbak-Tash and its organic relationship to the mountains above and the river below caused it to be understood as a place set apart from others, a site sanctified by location, by appearance, and by the ever-increasing numbers of images engraved on its surfaces.

Although rocky surfaces abound in this part of the Altai region, those found on Kalbak-Tash are un-usual in their integration and overall size. That fact and the very shape and visibility of the ridge make it possible to imagine that its smooth and richly colored surfaces would have offered ideal sites for ceremonies of sanctification or invocation to successive cultures. The proliferation and concentration, here, of images from a succession of cultures, over a period of several thousand years, support the conclusion that Kalbak-Tash came to be understood as a sanctuary, consecrated and reused by a succession of cultures for ritual and expressive activities; but the exact process by which it achieved that distinction remains unclear.

Taken as a whole, the representations at Kalbak-Tash suggest that at least through the early Bronze Age, the culture of this region was closely associated with the area further to the north and northeast. The archaic images of bull and cow elk, male and female maral, aurochs, bear, large goats and ibex, organized in overlapping rows and ranges, recall imagery and spatial organization if not identical styles recorded at Shalabolino; at Oglakhty, Ust'-Tuba, Tepsey, and Cheremushny Log; at Baykal Neolithic sites on the Tom' and Angara rivers; and, in a southern manifestation, at Turochak, north of Lake Telets.

At other Central Asian petroglyphic sites it is possible to find some parallels to the early anthropomorphic images at Kalbak-Tash, but it is striking to realize that while individual images can be related, their larger zoomorphic contexts cannot. The schematic frontal females are certainly related to schematic female figures from the petroglyphs of Chuluutyn-gol in Mongolia. Those images are also frontal, they have similar tail-like 'skirts,' their 'arms' are raised and terminate in claw-like hands, and their heads take the form of small, triangulated elements. These women are also found in association with ithyphallic figures, but the latter are posed in three-quarter view rather than in profile. In their combination of female, aspect bird aspect (i.e. feathers, claws, small heads), the female figures from Kalbak-Tash also suggest relationships with the feathered or ray-headed figures from Karakol, the large stones from the Minusinsk basin and possibly with those from Tamgaly in East Kazakhstan. Feathered heads or masks are well known from the Minusinsk stelae and from Shalabolino; but at none of those sites does one find the distinctive schematic female of Kalbak-Tash and Chuluutyn-gol.

There are other tantalizing inconsistencies in the distribution of similar images. For example, the loop-headed figures found in a few instances at Kalbak-Tash and in one case seeming to have a specifically phallic relationship to a schematic female are found in several examples on the Karakol slabs and at the important site of Shalabolino on the upper Yenisey; but at neither site can one find significantly close parallels to the Kalbak-Tash schematic women. The parallelism between imagery at these several but scattered sites Chuluutyn-gol, Kalbak-Tash, Karakol, Shalabolino, the Minusinsk Basin is extended by the association of strange anthropomorphic forms with naturalistic images of bovids (Chuluutyn-gol); elk and goats or ibex (Karakol); elk, bovid, maral, and bear (Shalabolino). However, at none of these sites can one find sets of images which would form a perfect 'match' or parallelism. This situation would suggest that in the Aeneo-lithic or early Bronze Age, the cultures of this part of Inner Asia shared in common certain belief systems and mythic traditions; but the variations in related imagery may reflect the cultural inflections of regional economies and ecologies.

It was earlier stated that the Kalbak-Tash representations of human figures with mushroom-shaped hats and a kind of tail or 'waist-pack' are absolute indicators of cultural ties with a great variety of Central Asian sites, from Kazakhstan through the Chuya Basin, into parts of Tuva, and down through western Mongolia into the North China borderlands. In contrast to the iconic aspect of the schematic women and archaic maral and elk, these human figures seem to reflect a social world characterized by dance and ceremony, hunting (both real and ritual), and human movement from one grazing region to another. While the dating of these distinctive images may still be a matter of considerable discussion, they nonetheless document the intrusion and spread of a single cultural complex across a vast region of the Eurasian steppe and forest-steppe; it is probable that such a cultural expansion occurred in the middle to late Bronze Age, but that significant tradi-tions from that cultural complex including some marked visually by objective signs persisted down into the Iron Age.


Turkish rock art with old Turkish inscription




Ester Jacobson
Eugene , Oregon, USA

The history of the study

The history of the study of Kalbak-Tash is relatively recent and limited. According to the first pub-lished mention of Kalbak-Tash [Khoroshikh, 1949: 132], apparently never visited the site here elf, since she placed the location further up between lodro and Chibit. The site was first recorded by the Biisk artist, D.I. Kuznetsov, in 1912. D.I. Kuznetsov copied some images which he found beside the trail which passed by the southern part of another rocky outcropping called Yalbak-Tash.


These images have been preserved to the present, in 1980, archaeologists from the Institute of History, Philology, and Philosophy of the Siberian Section of the Academy of Sciences, USSR (in 1991, the Institute was renamed the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography). Led by E.A. Okladnikova returned to Yalbak-Tash, encouraged by the advice of the story teller, A.G. Kalkin.

During the field seasons of 1980 and 1981, E.A. Okladnikova and her team copied what they believed to be the complete corpus of images from Kalbak-Tash and a brief introduction to this body of material was published by E.A. Okladnikova [1981: 63]. In later publications [Okladnikova 1984, 1987a, 1987b], more than 200 compositions were established as comprising the body of the Kalbak-Tash complex. In fact, how-ever, many images covered by lichens, earth, and broken stones were left unnoticed. In the last analysis, the number of compositions revealed by E.A. Okladnikova and her team has been expanded by our work to at least 500 in number; as a consequence, the high percentage (30%) of ruined images calculated by Oklad-nikova has been reduced by our studies to approximately 5–10 % of the total original number. 

Beyond the single Turkic inscription recorded by E.A. Okladnikova [1987b: 99], V.M. Nadelyaev recorded 11 more during the 1980 field season [1981: 65–71].

An unintended and somewhat unfortunate result of the attention the site received in the early 1980 was that it came to be associated with an incorrect name, Kalbak-Tash. The first to make this error was E.A. Okladnikova [1981], but it was continued in the publications of V.M. Nadeliaev [1981] and V.D. Kubarev [1987]. This error occurred because the actual outcropping which we now refer to as Kal-bak-Tash is located on the right bank of the Chuya River but 10 km. down the river from the site being considered here. Originally, in fact, that site here referred to as Kalbak-Tash I was called Yalbak-Tash. In fact, at the site of Kalbak-Tash II there are a number of highly significant petroglyphic images. The resulting errors in the naming of the larger complex of images at Kalbak-Tash I are not difficult to understand when we realize that both names kalbak  and yalbak  share some meanings and connotations in common. According to Altayic and Mongolian etymology, kalbak may refer to a spoon or to something which hangs, like a bag, while in Tuvinian it may refer to something wide and flat; «kalbak-tash» would thus refer to a wide or hanging stone. Yalbak-Tash literally refers to a wide, flat stone or cliff [Molchanova, 1979: 199, 176]. Having pointed out the error which has crept into modem scholarship, in part through our own publications, we have decided to retain the now established if erroneous use of the term, Kalbak-Tash, or Kalbak-Tash I, to refer to the petroglyphic site which originally bore the name of Yalbak-Tash; in a future publication we will offer the corpus of images at Kalbak-Tash II.

[* Language of Altai and Tuvian is Turkish, and Turks of Central Asia.- SB]

Beginning in 1980, V.D. Kubarev and co-workers undertook to conduct an exhaustive recording of the complete Kalbak-Tash complex of images and to re-record those images which had been copied (sometimes with significant errors of fact) by earlier investigators. This work continued through the field seasons of (1983–1987, 1989, 1991 and 1994) resulted in the recording of several hundred more images and composi-tions. This material has been referred in a number of preliminary publications as well as in more extended discussions. Our understanding of some of the oldest images at Kalbak-Tash was also significantly ex-panded by V.D. Kubarev excavations of several burials at the Altai village of Karakol and by the painted and carved slabs found in those burials [Kubarev V.D., 1988]. Despite the problems of establishing certain chronological horizons for the Karakol burials, the overlayed images found on the Karakol slabs offered a unique opportunity to establish a certain relative chronology with which could be compared similar images from Kalbak-Tash. We now believe that a number of the anthropomorphic images and some large deer and goat images from Kalbak-Tash may be related to similar forms on the Karakol slabs and can thus be dated to a period before or at the very beginning of the Bronze Age.

The surveying and recording of the images

The greatest concentration of images at Kalbak-Tash may be found in the southern and central sec-tions of the ridge-those nearer the right bank of the river. Fewer images may be found as the ridge rises to the north or on its west-facing slopes. A number of elements have combined to damage or destroy a large number of images, including some of the oldest and most important. The natural weathering and cracking of the rock surfaces has resulted in the loss of or significant damage to many images, as have human activities. The construction of the Chuya Road just below the ridge was particularly destructive to the southern part of the complex, where large blocks of stones carrying carved images fell down to the road surface. However, a careful examination of those stones, have convinced us that the damage was not as grave as had been re-ported by others. Miraculously the south-east section of the rocky outcropping above the river mat part of the complex on which is concentrated the most interesting images and inscriptions appears to have escaped serious damage from the construction. Nonetheless, that section and a significant part of the upper level of the ridge, where surfaces covered with images are oriented to the south and south-west, appear to have been significantly damaged or weakened from the vibrations of hammers and explosions below. The constant heavy vibration from the roadway must be at least partially responsible for the fact that whole sections of the rock surface have sheared away in recent years, leaving only fragmentary images. In addition, the impact of human activity on the ridge itself is taking an ever more visible toll on the most ancient of the images at Kalbak-Tash, those of the female figures and large deer which cover the flat horizontal upper surface at the south end of the ridge. Within the space of only the last few years, several major panels have lost significant portions of their surface. It is for these reasons, among others, that we have sought to record the images of Kalbak-Tash through photographs, drawings, and verbal description.

The work on recording the more than 2000 individual images of Kalbak-Tash has basically followed the methodology described in earlier projects [Sher, 1980; Piatkin, Martynov, 1985]. For the sake of organi-zation and to indicate natural divisions by reference to orientation, elevation, and inclination of surfaces, we divided the whole complex into fifteen sections, each with its own Roman numeral. The recording of indi-vidual images and of whole compositions and their continuous numeration proceeded from west to east and from south to north. Thus the total number of images recorded here (six hundred and sixty two) reflects indi-vidual images and apparent combinations of images. The Roman numeral before the number of each image or composition indicates the section of Kalbak-Tash where it may be found. These combinations, referred to in the text as «compositions», may actually reflect images carved during the same period and others which have been overcarved. As such, therefore, the designation of these groups in terms of compositions is with reference to their proximity, only, and not necessarily with reference to any intrinsic interrelationships.

The problems of accurately recording the images at Kalbak-Tash are the same as one would find at any petroglyphic site; but they are perhaps exacerbated here by the destructive natural and human-caused processes discussed at the beginning of this section. In addition to the obscuring of images by the cracking and sloughing-off of the stone surface, many of the images at Kalbak-Tash were effectively hidden by lay-ers of lichen, earth, or pebbles. Recognizing the potential loss of scientifically applicable indicators (organic growths), we nonetheless decided that a usefully complete recording necessitated a limited cleaning of the surface. To that end we used wooden scrappers to free some of the images from lichen, soft brushes to remove earth and small stones, and plain water to clean the surface and adhere the paper for rubbing. Im-ages were photographed both before and after the rubbings were taken, and details regarding each image or composition size, orientation, location within the complex, technical means by which the images were com-pleted, state of preservation, as well as the nature of the subject and its stylistic characteristics were added to the field notes. Incorrect copies were modified directly by reference to the original images.

The magery of Kalbak-Tash

In terms of the variety, chronological depth, and quality of its imagery, Kalbak-Tash offers an unusu-ally valuable and continuous record of human expressive imagery in the Altai region, from the third millennium B.C. to the late Turkic period. 

[* Must written as: "3rd millennium BC. (which is also Turkish period) to the late Turkish State (Gokturks) period", and not as Turkic! Because Gokturks are Turks! "Turkic" is unacceptable. -SB]

Images occur here alone, in coherent and intended compositions, and in unrelated groupings. These representations include realistic and easily recognized animals as well as easily discerned human types; but they also include syncretic animals, animals of a patently fantastic char-acter, and anthropomorphic forms which must have emerged from traditions of religious belief, from myth, and from epic poetry. So varied, indeed, is the imagery of Kalbak-Tash and so easily did the ancient artists seemingly slur between what the modem mind would call realism and poetic fantasy, that it becomes useful to review the image types of Kalbak-Tash and to propose the identity, albeit sometimes tentatively, of their chronological and cultural layers. In so doing, one finds that the petroglyphs of Kalbak-Tash parallel and complement those from other major Central Asian complexes; they confirm the broad cultural basis of some imagery and the social and cultural significance of many representations, even when we can only guess at meanings.

Animal Imagery

Deer, both male and female, constitute a significant proportion of the wild animal imagery at Kalbak-Tash. This is particularly true in the earliest layers of the petroglyphs, those datable to the Aeneolithic or early Bronze Age; but deer also appear frequently in petroglyphs associated with the Early Nomadic culture of the late Bronze and early Iron Ages. The configuration of the animals and, in particular, the clarity with which antlers are represented would suggest that it might be rather easy to identify the specific species rep-resented. In fact, that clarity may pertain only in the earliest layers, those associated with the representations of schematic frontal «women», referred to below. Typically, the deer of the early layers are represented in rather static, profile postures facing usually to the right but also occasionally to the left, their legs reduced pictorially to two (fore and back). Heads may be raised, as if the animal were in quiet movement (App. II, fig. 143, 146, 148), or the animal’s head may be lowered, as if to suggest grazing (App. II, fig. 131, 195). Among the surviving images of this period, female deer (hinds) are represented at least as frequently as are males (stags). Regardless of sex, the very regular treatment of the animals’ bodies, heads, and antlers indi-cates that the artists were referring to the Altai maral (Cervus elaphus sibiricus). This, the largest Cervus elaphus found in the Old World, carries antlers characterized by large, thick beams, pronounced brow tines, and up to six or seven tines on each beam. Among mature males, the fourth tine is the largest, branching sharply back and downwards from the beam.

The earliest maral* images at Kalbak-Tash are often arranged in groups of serial animals, vertically stacked and overlaying each other (App. II, fig. 142, 143). This may reflect a simple convention for the indi-cation of large groups of animals, or it may reflect the conventionalization following from real observation of animals moving across the grassy slopes of the mountains. While Cervus elaphus has disappeared from much of its ancient habitat across Eurasia, it is still known in significant numbers in the Altai In antiquity, the lower Chuya river valley must have offered excellent habitat: protection from winds and heavy snows, to-gether with the proximity of water, mixed forest, brushy areas, and grassy pastures. On the ridges above and easily accessible from the valley floor the maral could have escaped the heat and biting insects of summer.

[* Maral is Turkish of etym. meaning deer. - SB]

If the earliest deer imagery at Kalbak-Tash seems to refer to an identifiable species, that datable to later periods, the late Bronze and Iron Ages, presents greater problems of identification: in those images, naturalistic vitality is frequently mixed with stylization and even fantasy. In some cases (App. II, fig. 1, 28), the treatment of the deer antlers strongly suggests a reference to a maral; in other cases, however (App. II, fig. 334, 362), the elaborate size of the antlers suggests the maral, but the extreme verticality of the beams and the lack of any clear brow tines also argue that the reference may rather be to the Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus pygargus). This is a small deer, with antlers quite different from those of the maral: more up-right in growth, with three tines and no brow tine. Within the Siberian subspecies, the antler beams may be relatively long, reaching 45 cm. or more, and the whole configuration may offer a lyrate appearance. Such animals may be reflected in the deer images (App. II, fig. 100, 452). Because of the occasional problems of identifying deer species from the imagery, the terminology used here will be as follows: Cervus elaphus will be referred to as maral or, more specifically, as stag and hind «maralukha»; row deer or deer of a dis-tinctively non maral appearance will be referred to as deer or, individually, as buck and doe.

Although reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) are still found in the area of Turochak and Lake Telets, along the upper reaches of the Chulyshman River and its tributaries, as well as extensively in the Sayan uplands of neighboring Tuva, there are no images at Kalbak-Tash which can be certainly identified as such. A possible exception may occur in the case of one of the animals in the Turkic period composition (App. II, fig. 3).

Scattered among the images at Kalbak-Tash and repeated prominently on the south-facing cliff of Kalbak-Tash II is the image of a singularly stylized deer, the species of which is not always recognizable. This image type shifts ones attention from an awareness of the prehistoric artist’s joining of representa-tion and reality to an awareness of the intrusion of an artistic stylization that virtually discounts species reference. Characterized distinctively by its elongated body, its often attenuated legs, its highly stylized head, and the elegant elaborations of its antlers, this image may have originated in the region of present-day Transbaykal and Mongolia. It is best known in connection with ‘deer stones’ of the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age in the Transbaykal and Mongolia, but it would be rash to conclude that the image ap-peared first on the deer stones and was thence transferred to cliffs. Whatever its origins and meaning, this deer type functions as a certain marker of the spread of a culture or of cultural traditions westward and southward out of Mongolia as far as the Yin-Shan Mountains and East Kazakhstan, at some time in the late Bronze Age. The image appears frequently at scattered sites in the Chuya river basin, including Turu-Alty, Zhalgyz-Tobe, Yelangash, and Chaganka; but Kalbak-Tash and adjacent sites seem to have preserved the northwestern-most of these images.


Other than the maral of the early petroglyphic layers, the only member of the deer family which is easy to distinguish at Kalbak-Tash is the elk (Alces alces). In this case, the artists of the elk imagery of-fered clarity in the contours and proportions of bulls and cows and in the description of the bulls’ antlers. Both bull and cow elk have a characteristic bell or beard under their throats (App. II, fig. 110, 120); it is longest in young animals, but becomes shorter and may virtually disappear in older animals. Both sexes have long, large heads with a softly curved and protruding lip region; high and powerfully delineated with-ers and long legs. The antlers are quite distinctive, with each tine taking the form of a large, spreading spade-shape rimmed with long points. While the maral and roe deer were predated on primarily by wolves, snow-leopards, and wolverines, the elk’s primary enemy in the Altai was more likely to have been the bear; such predation may be referred to in some of the Kalbak-Tash compositions (App. II, fig. 219). More rarely, young or old and sickly elk might be attacked by wolves or by wolverines; this may be reflected (App. II, fig. 603). Well adapted to marshy taiga, open woodlands with trees such as willow, juniper, birch, and pine, elk can also tolerate a significant snow depth. Their appearance in the Kalbak-Tash petroglyphs singly (App. II, fig. 525, 556), or in pairs (App. II, fig. 388), reflects the manner in which elk tend to live individu-ally, particularly in the case of mature bulls, or in small groups.

By its combination with what appear to be very early images of maral, some of the elk images seem also to belong to the earliest cultural levels represented at Kalbak-Tash. In a few instances, a cow elk is overlaid by, a hind (App. II, fig. 254, 264, 286). In the group of images (App. II, fig. 306), a bull elk appears together with and executed in the same technique as several deer, «grates», and a schematic female and ithy-phallic male figure. In one highly interesting composition (App. II, fig. 284), three elk, including one giant bull, are surrounded by, a great variety of predators, domestic animals, and figures with mushroom-shaped headdresses. The complexity and apparent subject matter of the composition indicates a Bronze Age date and may reflect a mythic tale centered on a great elk. In another composition (App. II, fig. 625), a number of the animals are executed, in the same style and technique, but represent a great variety of antlered and homed animals (including a bull elk) and predators.

At Kalbak-Tash, images of goats and sheep are less numerous than are those of deer, but their numbers are still substantial. In many cases, their representations seem to refer to domesticated herds, where goats distinguished by their ribbed and back-arching horns predominate (App. II, fig. 275, 395, 449). Usually it is not possible to distinguish with certainty the representations of males from females: since both sexes carry horns, differences are at best reflected in distinctions in size (App. II, fig. 406, 449 – center) or in the inconsistent representation of the male animal’s beard (App. II, fig. 451). When one looks at the images of homed animals outside of a domesticated setting, however, the situation becomes considerably more complex. While the ancient artists of Kalbak-Tash varied their representations of the members of the genus Caprinae with as much care, observation, and deliberateness as they expressed in their representations of deer of the pre-Turkic period. Modem scholarship is hampered by the uncertainty of the taxonomy of Capri-nae as well as by the historical variability of homed species classed as Capra  «goats» and Ovis «sheep». In general, however, the same rule seems to apply here as in the case of deer imagery: the earlier the imagery of Caprinae, the more realistic and potentially identifiable with reference to species. In later images dating to the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age, images of Caprinae, become more conventionalized, albeit expres-sive of a marked vitality (App. II, fig. 627). Images datable by style to the late Pazyryk period often reveal the sacrifice of that vitality to conventionalized but elegant stylization.

A certain caprid image appears frequently in proximity to that of the maral or even superimposed on the large deer (App. II, fig. 141, 142, 289, 344). These animals are typically heavy-bodied, their horns represented usually as one high and back-curving form. Sometimes the horns are ribbed, more often they are not; in only a few cases are these animals clearly bearded to indicate the male of the species (App. II, fig. 142). On some occasions (App. II, fig. 294), the treatment of the animal’s body suggests the full form of a pregnant ewe; in other cases, paired images with taxonomic distinctions may reflect the pairing of males and females in nature. Depending on the length and ribbed nature of the horns, the representations may refer to wild goats (with longer, more scimitar-shaped horns; App. II, fig. 141) or to ibex (with shorter, heavier, more ribbed horns; App. II, fig. 294, 295). In either case, most images face to the right, although instances of their facing left do occur (App. II, fig. 330, 344). In all cases one senses a concern for the weight of the animal and a conventionalization of its posture to reflect the movement of the animal up slopes. More static in appearance than the wild caprids represented on slabs from Karakol, these from Kalbak-Tash nonetheless reflect a similarly acute sense of the strength and realistic appearance of the animals.

Wild sheep (Ovis) of the argali type occur far less frequently at Kalbak-Tash, but they are also found on layers of imagery which could not be later than the early Bronze Age (App. II, fig. 132, 232, 296, 315, 321). Despite a generally static appearance, the argali’s physical adaptation to rocky and snowy terrain has been captured by the ancient artists, as has the manner in which their heavy, curled horns would affect the animal’s carriage. Saiga, potentially distinguished by their smaller, more spiked horns and by the enlarged nasel area of their skulls, may be represented in a few early images from Kalbak-Tash (App. II, fig. 132); but the rugged character of the terrain in this region and the severity of winter weather would suggest that if they were represented, it was a reflection of artistic memory (derived from knowledge of other regions) or of myth.

From the time that wheeled vehicles begin to appear in the imagery of Kalbak-Tash, so also do the im-ages of horses. In some cases they are used to pull carts (App. II, fig. 399); in other cases, they are part of the domesticated livestock with which human figures are surrounded (App. II, fig. 395). The carts, the style in which the animals are represented, and the somewhat «open» spatial arrangement of these compositions allows us to date them to the late Bronze Age (i.e. late second-early first millennia B.C.). There is, however, at least one composition with horses which must be judged considerably earlier and which may refer to a herd of wild or semi-wild animals. In (App. II, fig. 296), the animals are stacked in the upper section of a fragmented panel. They overlay several more ancient images of large maral, but in their orderly stacked positioning, facing to the right, they appear to be much earlier than the horses associated with domesticated herds and cart driving.

Bovids appear relatively frequently within the imagery of Kalbak-Tash. The reference these images may be divided between cattle and yak. Within the first group, the most ancient images are certainly those of wild aurochs (Bos primigenius), an animal distinguished by a large and powerful body and by a long tail terminating in an elongated tuft. Its massive horns were set on the upper sides of the skull, jutted forward in a slightly bowed-out direction, and terminated in sharp, upward, and inward slanting tips. In profile, the bulls of domesticated cattle would be somewhat similar to the aurochs; the horns of both domesticated bulls and cows are similar, also, to those of the aurochs, but much less massive. The distinction between images of aurochs and cattle is not always clear, although the imagistic context and probable antiquity of the imagery may help to determine the scientific identity of the animals. The bovids (App. II, fig. 62, 183, 270, 294, 296, 300, 340) would almost certainly be aurochs, to judge from the large bodies, the isolation of the animals, or their combination with other archaic images. In (App. II, fig. 294), for example, an aurochs appears in the same technique and apparently on the same level as the large-bodied caprids and hinds. In (App. II, fig. 296), a large bovid with shorter horns overlays two images of schematic frontal females and the bodies of several deer or elk. The representation of domesticated cattle may be reflected in some single animals (App. II, fig. 186) or in groups of bovids (App. II, fig. 284).

The bovids represented with longer, more lyre-shaped horns (App. II, fig. 10) or with horns which curve up and back (App. II, fig. 149, 284) may refer to yak ( Bos Poephagus mutus); and the treatment of the bodies in terms of squared forms may reflect the squared profile created by that animal’s heavy, long hair (App. II, fig. 473, upper left). However, with a few exceptions from the most archaic levels (App. II, fig. 340), the exact definition of the animal aurochs or cattle, yak or cattle is frequently difficult to arrive at.

The representation of bovids occurs most frequently in scenes which reflect social activity and which are usually considered to be indicative of the middle to late Bronze Age. In (App. II, fig. 284), for example, a few small bovids with long horns occur within a complex scene referring to a real or mythic elk hunt. At the lower left of the main scene may be seen two or three other animals with jutting and lyrate horns. The presence of dogs (?) around the largest of these that with a squared treatment of the body suggests that the latter is an aurochs, while the smaller figures have horns more indicative of yak. In the upper left are two other bovids: one with exceedingly long horns, a rectangular body, and a long tufted tail, the other with a large squared body and tiny horns (?). In the center of (App. II, fig. 115) may be seen a burdened yak and several unburdened animals; in the center of the fragmentary composition of (App. II, fig. 449) is visible a large, laden yak, its body decorated in an «embroidered» style. Similar animals appear in (App. II, fig. 451) and, more modest in size, in (App. II, fig. 499). Bovids with lyre-shaped horns are represented in the frag-ment (App. II, fig. 542) and (App. II, fig. 611). But in (App. II, fig. 405), a single bull-like animal with lyrate horns, within a group that includes horses (?), predators (?), and a cart, defies easy definition: aurochs, do-mesticated bull, or bull yak? Complicating the issue is the fact that within modern-day Altai and Mongolia, a yak-domesticated cattle hybrid is highly valued for the quality of its milk and its docility; one may assume that such hybrids existed in the past, also.

While it has been customary in scientific literature to refer to large cattle or yak in Central Asian petro-glyphs as «bulls», such a conclusion is not particularly secure. All cattle of this region, as well as wild yak, male and female, carry horns, and few images show indications of the male sex. Even the attempt to distin-guish male from female animals on the basis of humped withers may not be secure. For example, the horned animal in (App. II, fig. 405) is marked as a bull by the indication of its sex, but its body and shoulders are without any of the massed musculation one would expect in the image of a bull.

Whatever the uncertainties involved in identifying these animals, bovid imagery introduces one of the most interesting aspects of rock art at Kalbak-Tash, and one which complicates attempts to associate cultural layers with «realism»or «fantasy». This is the representation of syncretic animals, best described as «deer-bovid», or «caprid-bovid». In some cases, the possible syncretism of the animal may be only a result of an unusual style: for example, the heavy-bodied animals in (App. II, fig. 313) may not be a «caprid-bovid» (above) and a «deer-bovid» (below), but only a heavy-bodied goat and deer. The same may also be true of the large «deer» represented (App. II, fig. 325). In (App. II, fig. 429), however, a large animal has the long, tufted tail and squared body of a bovid, and the «ribbing» on its neck suggests the folds of skin seen on that animal; moreover, it carries some kind of a load. On the other hand, the animal’s small head and antlered «horns» refer to a deer. The combination of such a syncretic (or syncretized) animal together with figures characterized by mushroom-shaped headdresses repeats itself on several occasions at Kalbak-Tash. In the complicated composition of (App. II, fig. 449), one of the laden and led bovids wears deer antlers, and the horns of the others are curiously angled. Another fragmentary deer-bovid appears in the lower right (App. II, fig. 453) and possibly above, on the upper right. In (App. II, fig. 469), a laden syncretic animal (with rider?), with the antlers of a deer and the long tail and blocky body of a bovid, is represented being led. More of these animals all, again, with «embroidered» or «decorated» bodies appear in the composition of (App. II, fig. 473). Many are laden and led by human figures. Some have the antlers of deer, others have the lyrate horns of yak, and yet others might refer to aurochs or domesticated bulls. The largest animal in the scene has the head of a cow elk or doe, the longer tail of a cow, and a body decorated in a checker-board pattern.

Here and in other settings (App. II, fig. 475, 533), the reiteration of syncretic elements and the association of such syncretic animals with scenes indicative of a human social setting establish the date of such imagery as Bronze Age. The intimate connection between these animals and social activity often conveys the impres-sion of a ceremonial context. Such images appear at other sites in the Altai (Zhalgyz-Tobe, Turn-Any); their syncretic character appears to have some analogies among the images from the Chuluut River complex in Mongolia, while the particular embroidered, or «decorative», or parceled treatment of their bodies is paral-leled in deer, bovids, and deer-bovids at many sites throughout the Chuya River drainage, Mongolia, and even in Inner Mongolia. It remains uncertain whether these images refer to a mythic reality or to the «deco-ration» of cattle and yak so as to reflect the antlers and horns of wild animals; but it cannot be denied that the image of the deer- bovid had a real significance to the stock breeders of the Chuya Valley in the late second millennium B.C. Their formulation and pictorial contexts confound any preconceptions we might impose regarding the separation of «reality» and «fantasy» in the middle to late Bronze Age.

Only one composition, that from the Turkic period (App. II, fig. 3), includes an image of what may have been intended to represent a wild boar. Given the rugged terrain and severe winters in this area, it is unlikely that wild boar ever existed in the Chuya river valley although they could have been known from warmer and wetter regions further to the west or northwest. Most boar-like images and there are many surviving at Kalbak-Tash are certainly those of bear (Ursus arctos jeniseensis). Still hunted in the more heavily forested parts of the Altai Republic, and the subject of one hunting representation from the Turkic [*Turkish-SB] period (App. II, fig. 598), bears have now disappeared from the Chuya valley floor, although they have been reported in the higher and heavily forested areas above the valley. Nonetheless, the frequency of the bear image at Kalbak-Tash would suggest that the animal was once well known in this area, or at the least that its presence was well established in the mythology of the people who inhabited or nomadized through the Chuya Valley.

In (App. II, fig. 41), a bear is juxtaposed with a cow elk or female maral, itself overlaying a schematic frontal female. In (App. II, fig. 93), a bear is overlaid by a deer (?), and in (App. II, fig. 219), a bear «fol-lows» a large caprid and a small bull elk; below, and overlaid by the elk’s leg, appears one of the strange «grates» associated with the schematic women of the Aeneolithic or early Bronze Age. These compositions suggest that the earliest bear images may belong to an early, if not the earliest, cultural layer represented at Kalbak-Tash. In (App. II, fig. 574), a group of bear appear in front of a large maral and as if following, in predation, a small animal (goat?). Style and subject matter suggest a Bronze Age date. These and many of the other representations of bears at Kalbak-Tash tend to indicate that with only rare exceptions the animal was much more frequently represented in the Aeneolithic and early Bronze Age than in later periods. Indeed, once human representations became more dominant (presumably by the mid to late second millennium B.C.), images of bear were rendered far less frequently.

The last figure (App. II, fig. 574) is the only one in which a bear is actually shown in the process of pre-dation. In other cases, predation may be, suggested by juxtaposition, but it is not represented. On the other hand, the most commonly represented predator at Kalbak-Tash, the wolf, does not appear in compositions or styles which could be dated earlier than the Bronze Age although the animal must have inhabited this region from a much earlier date. In some cases, the ferocity of the animal represented strongly suggests the representation of wolves (App. II, fig. 281). In most cases, however, it is not certain whether we have to do with wolves or dogs (App. II, fig. 405, 406, 428, 449, 453). Unquestionably, these combinations of animals rendered in terms of predator and prey, and the chronological correspondence between such representations and those focusing on human society merit considerably more consideration. They may reflect the manner in which world view, was modified by the transformation of myth and belief; they may also reflect the realities of an ecology increasingly dominated by a human presence. As humans became more dependent on domes-ticated herds, they may have become more aware of, or preoccupied by, the presence of wolves.

While Kalbak-Tash is singularly rich in zoomorphic imagery from the period before the early Iron Age, it is relatively lacking in petroglyphs which can be securely associated with the early Iron Age cul-tures referred to, variously, as Early Nomadic, Pazyryk, or Scytho-Siberian. This situation contrasts with the numerous images done in elegant Early Nomadic styles at several sites further east and southeast in the Chuya Steppe, Chaganka, Yelangash, Zhalgyz-Tobe, Turu-Alty. Those at Kalbak-Tash that are recogniz-ably Early Nomadic in style often appear as individual elements, such as the deer in (App. II, fig. 9, 659, 660); the spirited horse on the left side of (App. II, fig. 240), the fine caprid in (App. II, fig. 257). These images are distinguished by their tense, stilled postures, and by the manner in which their bodies are ad- justed to patterns involving large curves and counter-curves. In other cases, the style in which a group of animals is represented suggests, more or less clearly the tradition associated with the Early Nomadic period, whether or not the animals appear with the kind of interior «ornamentation» often associated with that petroglyphic style. In (App. II, fig. 1), for example the deer on the upper right is clearly representative of the Early Nomadic tradition, but so, also, might be the stylized vital deer on the left and the small caprids below. The wolves (?) in (App. II, fig. 428) convey the spirit of tense confrontation that emerges in many Pazyryk culture carvings; but that may not be sufficient to date them certainly to that period. The stylized deer with exaggerated antlers in (App. II, fig. 497, 568) and the caprid with great curved horns in (App. II, fig. 532) suggest the forms stylization could take in the early Iron Age, as does the small animal image in the lower section of (App. II, fig. 499). The stacked caprid images in (App. II, fig. 582) offer farther examples of the conventionalized, tense, and relatively, static postures associated with the style of the later Pazyryk culture. 

[* Pazırık is Turkish of etymology, meaning hidden, pressed, and is a Turkish culture; Saka Turks. Can not be named as Pazyryk Culture! - SB] 

It may be incorrect, however to insist too much on that style as the specific style of the Early Nomadic period in South Siberia. The images (App. II, fig. 625, 627), for example, combine a vitality developed in the Bronze Age with the exaggeration of antlers and horns more easily associated with the early Iron Age. In both of these compositions, at least one animal is rendered in a style which could only be Early Nomadic: the parceled goat on the lower left of fig. 625 and the caprid with exaggerated hind-quarters m the center right of (App. II, fig. 627).

The stockbreeders of the Chuya river region in the Bronze and early Iron Ages certainly knew feared and even valued predators other than bear and wolves, and may have elaborated then reality in myth Among such animals would have to be counted the wolverine and the snow leopard (Uncia uncia), an animal which preys on ibex, sheep, and small deer, and prefers high mountain regions particularly above the snow line. Finds of caived wood, gold, and worked felt recovered from the frozen burials at Pazyryk, from the Chuya steppe region, and from the plateau of Ukok, make absolutely clear that felines including snow leopards, wolves, and birds of prey were among the most significant images in Early Nomadic iconography. But if snow leopards are presented at Kalbak-Tash they are not recognizable as such. Also missing from the im-agery of Kalbak-Tash are fish (despite their frequent appearance in Pazyryk period art or other creatures of the water, or, with one possible exception, birds. There are a few snake images, but none are integrated into a coherent composition (App. II, fig. 33, 420).

A brief word may be said about the petroglyphs at Kalbak-Tash which date to the Turkic period and later. There are several compositions and individual images which are clearly Turkic in style. Typically these elements are incised or engraved into the rock surface; the animals are often represented in rapid and elegant movement. From the Turkic period also date a number of inscriptions, only some of which have been deciphered. Zoomorphic imagery belonging to the post-Turkic period is here, as at every other significant Altai site, scattered and for the most part lacking in clear technical or stylistic markers.

Anthropomorphic imagery and related elements

As in the case of zoomorphic imagery, the anthropomorphic imagery of Kalbak-Tash divides itself into realistic and non-realistic images. In fact, however, this simple division disguises a great complexity of representation and reference. The discussion which follows is intended to indicate the wealth of anthropo-morphic imagery and its related elements; but it makes no attempt to exhaust the discussion demanded by these motifs.

The most ancient and most frequently repeated anthropomorphic image is that which will here be called a schematic woman, or female. Always represented frontally, her female anthropomorphic reference established by the frequent indication of a pubic area (App. II, fig. 89, 189, 192, 196), her schematic treat-ment is relatively stable, even if the details are not always the same. She has a large upper body, rectangular or trapezoidal in shape, which may be left plain (App. II, fig. 196); or it may contain a kind offish-bone «shield» and stripes (App. II, fig. 189); or it may be entirely covered with a fish-bone pattern (App. II, fig. 188). In some cases, her upper and even lower body is fringed with streamers or «feathers» (App. II, fig. 195). Her lower body, or the «skirt» by which it is covered, almost always takes the form of vertically arranged parallel lines, resembling in effect the extended tail of a raptor. In most cases, she has a small, al-most vestigial head (App. II, fig. 190–194); sometimes her head is diamond-shaped (App. II, fig. 195), and sometimes she has no head at all (App. II, fig. 189). Where arms appear, as in (App. II, fig. 196), they are raised as if in invocation, and they are relatively short and terminate in claw-like hands, typically indicated by three digits. These images are found abundantly on the upper and south-facing sides of the complex; they may be widely separated or densely gathered together and overlaid.

The schematic females are often represented with other pictorial elements. Most recognizable is a profile, ithyphallic figure which appears on one or both sides of the woman, frequently with arms out-stretched in her direction (App. II. 166, 190, 204). In at least one case (App. II, fig. 89), those figures have been replaced (?) by large cup-marks. Another element which appears to be related to the frontal female but is entirely uncertain in its reference is a rectangular form, sometimes divided in its interior by stripes; from its comers extend down-turned lines, like sticks (App. II, fig. 219), like streamers (App. II, fig. 187, 188), or even like legs (App. II, fig. 188). In one case (App. II, fig. 195), the appearance of a «head» above and splayed «legs» below suggests a kind of bird figure. The placement of this figure and its variations, its striped or «feathered» treatment, and its frontality, appear to confirm its signifying association with the sche-matic females and with the profile ithyphallic males. A curious variation on these themes occurs in (App. II, fig. 156): surrounded by images of maral, both male and female, are two frontal figures, in long feathers or a feathered robe, arms raised, and heads crowned by tree-like elements. A possibly related figure occurs in several compositions (App. II, fig. 330, 333, 338), frontal, with three-clawed arms raised, the figures may refer to a male, but more likely to a birthing female. Yet another element may be described as a kind of «loop-headed» creature, perhaps male in gender. At Kalbak-Tash such images occur in somewhat crude form (App. II, fig. 342, 363); but at the site referred to here as Kalbak-Tash II, such an image occurs in a fine, engraved form.

The schematic female’s archaic level is indicated by the manner in which she and her associated ele-ments appear with the most ancient images of maral; in some cases they overlay these images (App. II, fig. 296, 322, 333), in other cases they are overlaid by them (App. II, fig. 195, 196, 287, 297, 306), and often they are simply but deliberately juxtaposed (App. II, fig. 289, 303). In the composition of (App. II, fig. 344), the overlaying of related elements deer, caprids, schematic females, birthing females, and so forth achieves an extraordinary density. The interrelationships between these zoomorphic and anthropomorphic forms demonstrate conclusively that even if we do not undertand their meaning we may conclude that they all reflect a single cultural context and an integrated world view. They also indicate that a culture capable of representing maral, ibex, bear, and aurochs with a vivid realism could create anthropomorphic images of the imagination; and that even if the animal images reflect a preference for keeping some species separate, the bird-like aspect of the anthropomorphic figures suggest, equally, an imagination capable of syncretism in image and in mythic reference.

A small, profile figure appears in a number of the scenes with archaic images of maral, elk (App. II, fig. 255, 277, 368), and sheep (App. II, fig. 559). Sometimes crouching with what looks like a spear in hand (App. II, fig. 255), sometimes standing and ithyphallic (App. II, fig. 277), these figures may represent hunt-ers, real or mythic. Analogies to such figures have been identified at other sites, again in association with archaic levels of representation.

The second most distinctive group of anthropomorphic images at Kalbak-Tash are easily recogniz-able by headdresses which are shaped, in silhouette, like mushrooms. In many cases they wear at the waist something which looks at times like a tail (App. II, fig. 149, 284, 429) and at times like a large pack (App. II, fig. 423). Their activities are varied: in some compositions the figures appear as cart driv-ers (App. II, fig. 405?, 510), or in the process of walking (App. II, fig. 429), or posed as if in a ceremo-nial dance (App. II, fig. 423, 429, 437, 440, 656). In some scenes, they lead or attend animals (App. II, fig. 449, 473, 510).

In one instance, a figure with the distinctive headdress appears as if in a birthing scene (App. II, fig. 438); a similar birthing figure seems to be leading a large bovid in the complex composition of (App. II, fig. 449). Such images indicate that the mushroom-shaped headdress was not the prerogative of males only. Within the «ceremonial» scenes, the figures might be holding a stick or a ceremonial weapon (App. II, fig. 423, 429, 440) or simply dancing (App. II, fig. 452). In a number of cases, the organization of several figures suggests aggressive action or a battle. In one of those scenes (App. II, fig. 451), two archers are aiming at a giant figure to their right; below the figures appear a number of very large, horned animals. In another scene (App. II, fig. 68), it is possible that we have to do not with a battle but with a hunt after aurochs, indicated by larger and smaller horned animals with long tufted tails; and in (App. II, fig. 486), the proximity of the two archers aiming apparently at each other but surrounded by wild animals, suggests again the possibility that the reference is to a hunt rather than to a battle.

Indeed, scenes of hunts are regularly represented (App. II, fig. 208, 479, 481, 628, 629, 630, 636), but often with interesting variations. In the complex composition represented in (App. II, fig. 284), small figures, some with mushroom-shaped headdresses, some ithyphallic, and at least one with a horned head-dress, appear to be engaged in a hunt involving large elk. Dogs or wolves surround the two smaller elk who are also confronted with several figures carrying a variety of weapons. Scattered about the compo-sition are several small goats, perhaps to suggest the location of the hunt, and to the left appear several horned animals rendered in a parceled or «embroidered» style. The most aggressive looking of these animals is confronted by several dogs (?). Most curious is the very large elk at the top, under whose belly appear several finely articulated figures with hats, «tails» and spears. The combination, here, of clarity of image and a sense of narrative purpose, together with the gigantic size of the hunted animals, calls to mind the quality and the texture of a tale. Yet again, in the upper section of (App. II, fig. 452), a tiny figure appears to be attacking a huge and monstrous beast; the proximity of these figures to the large «dancers» below may also indicate aspects of an epic tale, in which are represented both heroic action and a ceremo-nial invocation of strength, or the celebration of victory. 

A similar combination of small and large appears in (App. II, fig. 658), in the center, an ithyphallic figure with the distinctive headdress shoots his arrow at a huge horned animal, while in the upper right, another figure seems to be defending himself from a dog or wolf. In these so-called hunting scenes, the motif of the battle with a giant creature or personage again argues that we have to do with the representation of myth or epic rather than with the representation of an actual hunt. When these scenes are added to the representations of «giants» of ceremonial dancers, or to the scenes which combine a vital realism with unrealistic elements, a birthing woman leading an ani-mal, a ceremonial dancer in proximity to a syncretic animal (App. II, fig. 149) one is led to the tentative conclusion that these spirited scenes may reflect communal myth more than they reveal common, every-day activities. In such a circumstance, apparent battles or hunts may be transformed into the material of creative narration.

In a number of the compositions just discussed, the figures are identified as men by their ithyphallic appearance (App. II, fig. 630, 658); but in many other compositions, no such identification is made: by virtue of their weaponry, one assumes that the figures are male, but there is no certainty. Moreover, as we have seen, in some cases the representation may be of a birthing female rather than of an ithyphallic male (App. II, fig. 1, above). Certainly there is no way to identify females, specifically, except for the representa-tion of birthing. One might propose that with only a few exceptions (App. II, fig. 275) frontality is reserved for females (including, in that instance, the giant, tailed figures (App. II, fig. 451, 511), the three-quarter or profile position is reserved for males, and the indication of the male organ may simply be a way of clarifying identity rather than functioning as a specific sign of procreative vitality or heroic status. In effect, our ability to determine the gender of many of the actors in these scenes, their mythic or real nature, and even the meaning of the scenes, remains uncertain.

One other area of uncertainty needs to be raised here: that is the dating of the scenes with mushroom-hatted figures. These figures occur throughout the region of Central Asia and South Sibiria, as far north as the upper Yenisey, as far east as western Mongolia, and as far south as the mountains of Inner Mongolia; they are also well-known from petroglyphic complexes of East Kazakhstan. It is generally assumed that these figures reflect a Bronze Age date, an hypothesis supported by the combination of herding and hunting activities reflected in the petroglyphic images.

The style characteristic of the compositions in which these figures appear is also indicative of a Bronze Age date; most generally it is characterized by a vital naturalism unconstrained by stylization. Figures and animals are posed and interrelated so as to underscore their lively psychological and physical interconnec-tions. On the other hand, several compositions at Kalbak-Tash offer a number of reasons to argue that both the mushroom-hatted figure type and the exploitation of lively compositions continued down into the Early Nomadic period. In (App. II, fig. 115), for example, on the right side of a composition including figures herding, a giant hunter, and laden and led animals, appear two horsemen, both wearing variations on the mushroom-shaped headdress. The representation of riding-itself believed to have appeared in this region no earlier than the late Bronze Age-would seem to indicate the beginning of the Early Nomadic period. In (App. II, fig. 628), within a complicated scene of wolves, caprids, and hunters wearing mushroom-shaped hats, a large caprid with elaborate horns in the lower right is represented with some of the stylized exaggeration one associates more readily with Early Nomadic styles. In the upper part of that scene appears a vehicle drawn by two horses, behind which appears the fragment of a large, «tailed» driver. The two horses are represented upright and stacked, in contrast to the usual manner of splaying the animals as if seen from right and left (App. II, fig. 117). Each of the wheels is represented with multiple spokes, and the complex housing of the carriage is indicated. Such a detailed description of the wheeled vehicle could not have been executed before the late Early Nomadic period, i.e., contemporary with the late Pazyryk culture.


This discussion may appear to suggest that all the images of individual compositions or scenes were necessarily done at the same time. That is not, of course, the case. While there is a uniformity of style in some of the image groups we have discussed (App. II, fig. 196, 405, 406, 449), in others one has the impression of a process of addition over a long period of time, without any particular intention; or of the opportu-nistic ‘creation’ of a rudimentary narrative by adding later images to earlier ones. In (App. II, fig. 146), for example, by subject and style, the small wolf would seem to have been added by a late Bronze Age carver to the much more archaic maral. In (App. II, fig. 195), an early Iron Age carver has added a cart and two horses over the head of the schematic woman on the right. By contrast, (App. II, fig. 344) represents a particularly dense process of additive carving, over an extended period of time; but here the very density of the overlay suggests as yet unfathomed intentions. There are also compositions the unity of which remains uncertain: in the impressive group of (App. II, fig. 452), for example, the technique with which the large beast is carved and the awkwardness of its huge body makes it difficult to believe that it was done by the same artist or art-ists who created the fine men and animals below. On the other hand, when the beast is conceived as part of a narrative scene involving the small figures which attack it and those beneath, then it becomes easier to allow that within tile same immediate period one may find significant discrepancies in style and in the quality of representation.

Spatial Organization in the Compositions

 Some reference has already been made to the manner in which variously datable compositions from Kalbak-Tash are organized. In fact, issues of spatial order and organization are deserving of considerably more consideration, but within the larger topic of Central Asian petroglyphs. A few provisional comments may be useful here.

While there are no absolute laws which govern all compositions of any one period, certain general principles do emerge from a consideration of a large number of comparable scenes at Kalbak-Tash. In the earliest groups of images, those dominated by schematic females and maral, one finds a general tendency to organize layers of images by ranges: that is, the images are stacked one above the other, and one range over the other. The result is a compositional form that can vary between relatively open scenes (App. II, fig. 294, 307, 369) to groups of images which are extremely dense in their overlayed forms (App. II, fig. 289, 306, 344). A qualifying principle may be found in the nature of the surface: to the extent that it ap-proaches a vertical orientation, as in (App. II, fig. 289), the images appear vertically stacked; to the de-gree the surface is tending to the horizontal, as in (App. II, fig. 306), the images may be freed from any particular order; from such discrepancies, however, one may not deduce a necessary rule. In (App. II, fig. 196, 293), for example, both found on relatively horizontal surfaces, the images are roughly arranged in the same plane and in the same directionality. In all cases, the general but not absolute principle is for animal images to face to the right, for the schematic females and the strange elements which accompany them to be frontal, and for most of the ithyphallic figures to face right or left, in profile. In these early compositions, three-quarter views do not pertain and the representation of animals with two legs instead of four confirms a preference for the silhouetted view.

By contrast, compositions from the Bronze Age appear more agitated, if only because images con-stantly create their own directionality and space, disrupting the ranging which may be accorded to others. The resulting complexity may be eased by the verticality of a surface (App. II, fig. 284), or exploited for pictorial effect on more horizontal surfaces (App. II, fig. 510). Overlapping is less pronounced than in the more archaic levels, but the disruption of linear order is more evident. That, however, is only one element in the extreme sense of vitality which animates many of these scenes. No less important are others: radical variations in the size of elements from one to the next and constant variation in the directionality of atten-tion (to right or to left, up or down). Most important, certainly, is the emergence of elements of narrative import: the indication of attention directed, of actions made potential or in process. In (App. II, fig. 284), for example, the small figures under the large elk’s belly turn visibly toward each other, their spears creating a point of visual and psychological intersection in the center of the group. The large elk beneath is confronted, on all sides, by dogs or wolves; one senses a tension between the stilled body of the large animal and the noisy activity of the smaller ones. The scenes presented in (App. II, fig. 399, 405, 510) convey the impres-sion of a pleasing bustle of activity, suggesting the moving of encampments. That process is more regulated in (App. II, fig. 473), but even there the ranging of animals and figures is enlivened by their appearance of movement in different directions and even by the inversion of images within the same scene. Where in the more archaic compositions the viewer reads the powerful and realistic animals as individual icons, psychologically unmoved by each other, here one becomes less aware of the individual element and more aware of the manner in which the posture of one image qualifies the activity of another. In short, one becomes aware of a psychological or narrative energy circulating among all the actors of the scene.

If we could more accurately determine the boundary in petroglyphs between the Bronze and early Iron Age, some of these principles of spatial order might be clarified. It is striking to note in several of the Kalbak-Tash compositions, however, the intrusion of ground lines: of deliberate linear paths along which ani-mals are ranged. This occurs in such apparently Bronze Age representations as (App. II, fig. 395, 451, 452), and (less clearly dated), in (App. II, fig. 543). It is difficult to understand the reason for such an intrusion of order into the compositions. Are these relatively neat rows of deer or goats intended to reflect the paths that animals make or the manner in which animals follow each other across a hillside? If we had a larger picto-rial tradition from this part of Central Asia, one expressed in more maleable media than stone, it might be possible to understand the appearance of these ground lines in terms of their larger pictorial significance and within the artistic conception of a greater spatial extension.

Kalbak-Tash and other Central Asian petroglyphic sites

Taken as a whole, the representations at Kalbak-Tash suggest that at least through the early Bronze Age, the culture of this region was closely associated with the area further to the north and northeast. The archaic images of bull and cow elk, male and female maral, aurochs, bear, large goats and ibex, organized in overlapping rows and ranges, recall imagery and spatial organization if not identical styles recorded at Shalabolino; at Oglakhty, Ust’-Tuba, Tepsey, and Cheremushny Log; at Baykal Neolithic sites on the Tom’ and Angara rivers; and, in a southern manifestation, at Turochak, north of Lake Telets.

At other Central Asian petroglyphic sites it is possible to find some parallels to the early anthropomor-phic images at Kalbak-Tash, but it is striking to realize that while individual images can be related, their larger zoomorphic contexts cannot. The schematic frontal females are certainly related to schematic female figures from the petroglyphs of Chuluutyn-gol [*gol Tr.of ety.;gol-göl-köl, meaning lake. SB] in Mongolia. Those images are also frontal, they have similar tail-like «skirts» their «arms» are raised and terminate in claw-like hands, and their heads take the form of small, triangulated elements. These women are also found in association with ithyphallic figures, but the latter are posed in three-quarter view rather than in profile. In their combination of female aspect and bird as-pect (i.e. feathers, claws, small heads), the female figures from Kalbak-Tash also suggest relationships with the feathered or ray-headed figures from Karakol, the large stones from the Minusinsk basin and possibly with those from Tamgaly in East Kazakhstan. Feathered heads or masks are well known from the Minusinsk stelae and from Shalabolino; but at none of those sites does one find the distinctive schematic female of Kalbak-Tash and Chuluutyn-gol.

There are other tantalizing inconsistencies in the distribution of similar images. For example, the loop-headed figures found in a few instances at Kalbak-Tash and in one case (App. II, fig. 363) seeming to have a specifically phallic relationship to a schematic female are found in several examples on the Karakol slabs and at the important site of Shalabolino on the upper Yenisey; but at neither site can one find significantly close parallels to the Kalbak-Tash schematic women. The parallelism between imagery at these several but scattered sites Chuluutyn-gol, Kalbak-Tash, Karakol, Shalabolino, the Minusinsk Basin – is extended by the association of strange anthropomorphic forms with naturalistic images of bovids (Chuluutyn-gol); elk and goats or ibex (Karakol*) [*Tr. of ety.-SB]; elk, bovids, maral, and bear (Shalabolino). However, at none of these sites can one find sets of images which would form a perfect match or parallelism. This situation would suggest that in the Aeneolithic or early Bronze Age, the cultures of this part of Inner Asia shared in common certain belief systems and mythic traditions; but the variations in related imagery may reflect the cultural inflections of regional economies and ecologies.

It was earlier stated that the Kalbak-Tash representations of human figures with mushroom-shaped hats and a kind of tail or «waist-pack» are absolute indicators of cultural ties with a great variety of Central Asian sites, from Kazakhstan through the Chuya Basin, into parts of Tuva, and down through western Mongolia into the North China borderlands. In contrast to the iconic aspect of the schematic women and archaic maral and elk, these human figures seem to reflect a social world characterized by dance and ceremony, hunting (both real and ritual), and human movement from one grazing region to another. While the dating of these distinctive images may still be a matter of considerable discussion, they nonetheless document the intru-sion and spread of a single cultural complex across a vast region of the Eurasian steppe and forest-steppe; it is probable that such a cultural expansion occurred in the middle to late Bronze Age, but that significant traditions from that cultural complex including some marked visually by objective signs persisted down into the Iron Age.


with photos
KALBAK TAŞ (stone)




THE INSCRIPTIONS KALBAK-TASH XX (A 43) AND KALBAKTASH XXI (A 44) OR LITERACY IN OLD TURKS

In this article were handled inscriptions Kalbak-Taş XX (A 43) and Kalbak-Taş XXI (A 44) which found in Alrai and have been suggested. Mountainous Altai in Article 43 of the calpain-Stone article (calpain-Stone XX) and 44 (calpain-Stone XXI) by discussing the new proposals on readings and meanings on this inscriptions. Is thought to be that the inscription Kalbak-Tash XXI which read and interpreted as „ig(e)n: b(e)z(e)g(e)li / b(e)z(e)gli: k(a)r(ı)m n(e) y(e)g (o)l:(e)ş(i)k b(e)n y(e)g (e)r (What better my hand that decorated the deers! I am, Ahmet is good soldier)‟ associated with the inscription Kalbak-Tash XX which read and interpreted as „ig(e)n(i)g: b(e)d(i)zg(e)li: uz (e)rm(i)ş (He is skillful on to image deers)‟. So the person named Ahmet draw a three deer picture on the rock and he liked these pictures. This idea was expressed in the form of inscription. Then someone who visited here saw the pictures and read the inscription. He liked the pictures too and he attended to Eşik. After all he wrote the inscription where he said that Eshik is skillful on to image deers. This inscription in the form of a dialogue which contains everyday life events is important in terms of showing that the literacy rate and culture of writings of ancient Turkish is high. 

Dr.Nurdin Useev
A.Ü.Türkiyat Araştırmaları Enstitüsü Dergisi [TAED] 51, ERZURUM 2014, 1-15 / PDF (Tr.)