If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

Rock Graphic Art of Ancient People

Rock drawings — scribbles, performed with a raddle and petroglyphs, marked or scratched, carved on the stone surface refer to the most all continents.

Rock drawings — scribbles, performed with a raddle and petroglyphs, marked or scratched, carved on the stone surface refer to the most all continents.

This is the most universal historical source on the history of culture of different times and peoples during the last years. It began to draw attention of explorers, engaged in solving problems of the reconstruction of ancient peoples’ outlooks, but with it resulting in acute discussions due to the imperfection of methodical and methodological principles of analysis.

In the Kazakh Altai rock imprints, referred to different periods of the Stone Age, were not revealed yet, though it is not excluded that they could be discovered in the future. The main massif of graphical relics is dated by the bronze century, while within the limits of this historical epoch it was a success to distinguish the earliest and the latest.

The series of paintings in raddle, drawn mainly on the surface of coarse-grained grey granite is known in the upper Irtysh — Smolyanka, Bukhtarma, Manat, Zhantas, Sartymbet and others.
The most significant relic of the graphical art of the Paleometal epoch (the end of the 3rd- the beginning of the 2nd centuries BC) are symbolic signs, drawn with raddle on walls and Akbaur grotto ceiling, situated in 3 km to the north-west of the Besterek village of the Ulan region.

The main semantic loading is performed undoubtedly by signs by themselves — crosses, triangulars, zigzags, broken lines, dots, rectangles and others, which are concentrated around portrayals of several anthromorphic figures and cone like dwellings, and also of turned over he-goat’s figure and a vehicle with a pole and two entire disc like wheels. A part of pictures on the left from the grotto entrance disappeared, nevertherless all grotto signs, while interpretation of their sense contents is nessesary to consider them as a common graphic and ideographic text, drawn on the rock surface once only, may be during the performance of some calendar cycle of ritual-rite actions on the ground in front of the grotto. Thus, the key to the sense decoding of symbolic signs is in drawings themselves, but they should be considered in the context of nature surroundings and of architonics of a grotto itself, which has a hole in the ceiling.

A great number of wild and domestic animals drawings and people with different life articles, armour, as well as symbolic signs — solar, tamgo like, which were often united into many-figured sense compositions, connected with hunting, ritual, battle actions and other notions.

Petroglyphs of an early iron century are characterized first of all by a peculiar dynamics and originality of the Scythian-Siberian feral style, though on the surface of solid rocks it is very difficult to draw pictures of rolled up predators and of other impressive elements. Nevertheless, among Meiemer and Kulazhurga petroglyphs, there were clearly distinguished deer figures standing on the hoof tips with horns thrown back, with emphasized eyes, ears, withers or the picture of an eagle with a head turned back, as on golden pendants from the early Saxes Shiliktinsk mounds. Quite often, the accumulation of rock drawings of different times are dated to the territory of big and different times necropolises, situated in convenient for life activity sites, that it is sometimes a success to synchronize them with materials of burial relics. 

In spite of the fact, that in the epoch of the early Middle Ages, the territory of Eastern Kazakhstan was in the epicenter of the most important ethno-political events, connected with the formation of ancient Turkic states and the availability of a great number of mounds and stone statues, rock engravings of proper Turkic cataphracts and horse standard- bearer are met, for example, in comparison with Semirechye, but more rarely. Single horse pictures with banners are stated in the surroundings of the Bozambai village.

Thus, rock pictures of Eastern Kazakhstan, according to the subjects, performance technique, repertoire and due to all other parameters enter into the circle of graphic relics of wide and central-Asian region, and besides, emphasizing common character of cultural-genetic processes, an ideological- world outlook development of graphic canons and styles, Eurasian peoples’ creative activity on the whole, throughout many centuries.

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