Figures on the Pedestal of Cuman Sculptures in the Light of the Religious Ideas of Ancient Turks

  • Alina O. Kharlamova Museum of Archaeology of Kharkiv Karazin National University
Keywords: Cuman statues, semantics, anthropomorphic images, zoomorphic images, horsemen, shamans, trefoil.

Abstract

In the paper author analyzes currently known drawings on the back side of the pedestal of Cuman sculptures as well as several unpublished drawings carved on the pedestals of statues from the basin of the middle flow of the Siverskyi Donets. Along with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures, geometric and plant images are also considered for the first time. For male sculptures, four types of images are distinguished: images of shamans, images of horsemen, hunting scenes and geometric figures. The last three types are found on standing statues, and drawings of shamans are known for sitting statues.

Images of shamans are associated with the fertility cult Kocha-khan, which was practiced by some Turk peoples. Images of animals probably reflect the totem views of the Cumans. Horsemen’s drawings may signify Tengri, the supreme deity of the ancient Turks, and the cross as an ancient solar symbol.

For female sculptures of various types the images of a trefoil are typical, which is a symbol of a female deity — Umai.

The study of the images semantics on both male and female sculptures suggests that they were associated with the magical representations of the nomads or performed the role of the soul “guide” to the world of the deceased.

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2018-12-22
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