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The Altai Kazakhs –Ancestors of Ancient Cultures

13 August 2014
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The Kazakh layer of the Altai culture, as a times connecting thread, brought the main components of the nomadic cultural complex formed in Eurasia in the bronze century in a materialized kind to our quickly changing time, preserving under it an aroma of the steppe absinth and freshness of mountain valleys.

The steppe civilization, with its many-faceness, characterized by a cattle-breeder’s life activity (not only of a shepherd or knight, mailed in an iron armor and rushing along steppe spaces, but also of town, fortresses, caravanserais, villages’ creator, craftsman, jeweler, toreutics and so on), created the most firm adaptation mechanism to a nature-ecological niche, and corresponding to its economic-cultural type. So, several peculiarities of harmony with nature, behavior norms, world perception and religious outlooks and many other life values of nomadic people, embodied in masterpieces of arts and crafts, articles of daily life, horse decoration, clothes and the Kazakh decorations.

Anything, whether it is a ceremonial belt — kise, woman earring with a pendant, incrusted with a precious stone, a ceremonial horse harness or zerger’s (jeweler) instrument, undoubtedly finds similarities in relics of ancient and medieval nomads of this and neighboring regions. In this regard, an exceptional interest is displayed by a specific ornament of thick felt syrmaks, typical only for the Altai Kazakhs — naimans, and kerei with symmetrically arranged ramified sprouts, receding into berel-pazyryk antiquities of the Altai sub-region, shown by patterns on thick felt carpets and saddle covers. Or a-saddle, which got the name “naimanskoye” with the Kazakhs, has a very high a bit concaved front pommel with widely expanded base. 

A tymak, for example, the Altai Kazakhs continue the development line of a similar head dress of a pazyryk pattern of the 5th — 3rd centuries BC, preserved in our days without significant modifications. 

The traditional activities of the Altai Kazakhs, considering a local specific character, is woodworking, the development of which, in many respects is stipulated by plenty and kind variety of this raw material in all times. According to the materials of the Berel mounds of the rulers and common mounds, a particular development was reached during Scythian-Saxes epoch, with cattle-breeding people of the Kazakh Altai. Thus, various ethnographical materials from Eastern Kazakhstan witness the diversity of cultural phenomena of the Kazakh layer, its roots and doubtless cultural succession between ancient and modern people of Altai.


Literature:
Z. Samashev, A. Ermolayeva, G. Kush “The ancient treasures of the Kazakh Altai”, Publisher “Oner”, 2008.

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